• SSTI's 2018 Annual Conference - December 3-5 in Salt Lake City

    The agenda and brochure are now online for SSTI's 2018 Annual Conference: Navigating the New Innovation Landscape. Join your peers for conversations around emerging challenges and opportunities related to science, tech, innovation & entrepreneurship. 

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The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


DARPA announces $2B AI initiative

The “AI Next” campaign, announced by DARPA last week, is geared toward moving AI defense applications into a “third wave” of advancement, capable of complex problem-solving. DARPA will be investing $2 billion into AI through a variety of programs, and a core element of this initiative will be “AI Exploration” projects designed to move from proposal to start in three months, and from start to feasibility assessments within 18 months.

Cities can compete for $500M in funds to drive inclusive growth

JPMorgan Chase announced the creation of AdvancingCities, a new $500 million, five-year initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity in cities across the world. The firm will invest in cities where conditions exist to help those who have not benefited from economic growth. This includes demonstrated collaboration across the public and private sectors on solutions that create opportunity for people at risk of being left out of economic growth. Successful applications will be eligible for a three-year grant of up to $3 million.

Large companies dominate business R&D expenditures

Companies employing more than 5,000 people represent nearly two-thirds (63.9 percent) of all business R&D in the United States, according to an analysis of NSF’s Business Research, Development, and Innovation Survey (BRDIS). With the recent release of more detailed numbers and to expand on a Useful Stats report from earlier this year, this analysis focuses on business R&D by company size. Small and mid-sized companies made up the highest share of business R&D in Alaska, New Mexico and Louisiana. In Delaware, Michigan and Oregon, large companies made up the highest share of business R&D.

Are academic science & engineering resources growing more concentrated?

Colleges and universities that conduct research and development around science and engineering are central to technology-based economic development strategies and are at the core of America’s innovation hubs. The distribution of science and engineering R&D at colleges and universities (S&E R&D) – already distributed unevenly across the country— appears to have grown radically more so since the Great Recession. In fact, SSTI analysis using data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics reveals that approximately 60 percent of all new funds for S&E R&D at colleges and universities from 2008 to 2016 went to institutions in just three states: Maryland, California and New York.   

Useful Stats: Science and engineering R&D at colleges and universities, by state and metro area

Federal funding for science and engineering R&D at colleges and universities (S&E R&D) grew by $7.2 billion from 2002 to 2016, reaching more than $31.6 billion. This represents a 29.4 percent increase during the period, or approximately 2.0 percent per year, according to an SSTI analysis of data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Among states, California ($4.3 billion), New York ($2.4 billion), and Maryland ($2.3 billion) received the most in federal funds for S&E R&D in 2016, while Baltimore ($2.0 billion), New York City ($1.7 billion), and Boston ($1.3 billion) led among metropolitan areas.

Wyoming looks to diversify economy through generational strategy

After nearly 18 months of planning and meetings that gathered input from nearly 140,000 participants, Gov. Matt Mead announced the release of a 20-year strategy for the diversification of the state’s economy. Through the plan, the leaders of Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming (ENDOW) provided more than 50 recommendations for the state government and private industries to help grow and attract businesses to Wyoming as well as keep talented young people in state. The intent of this new blueprint for the state’s economy is to reduce the likelihood of repeating the boom-and-bust cycles that plagued the state in the past.

New Treasury rules create opportunity to advance local innovation economies

Organizations that assist and finance innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship have largely been left out of one of America’s great drivers of local investment: Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activities by banks. Now, with the U.S. Department of Treasury actively seeking to modernize CRA regulations, the tech-based economic development community has an opportunity to help CRA to become a tool for advancing local innovation economies. All parties are encouraged to read below for more information and to submit comments by Nov. 19.

USDA plans to restructure, relocate research units

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue made an announcement in early August affecting two research units: Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. ERS will revert to part of the Office of the Chief Economist, and both units will be relocating outside of Washington, D.C. by the end of 2019.

APLU issues imperatives to improve economic development effectiveness

Recognizing that the global economic and science and engineering landscape is changing rapidly, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) yesterday issued a position paper in an effort to bring together universities and their federal partners and respond to the economic and community development needs of the nation.

Policy Academy teams meet to strengthen manufacturers

As part of an official kick-off for a yearlong Policy Academy, interdisciplinary teams from around the country met in Washington, D.C., last week to advance policies that strengthen their manufacturing sectors. The four state participants – Kentucky, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and Utah – are comprised of leadership from governor’s offices, state economic development departments, Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers, manufacturing trade associations, and other manufacturing centers. In addition to facilitated working groups, the event featured speakers from Deloitte, The National Center for the Middle Market, NIST, MForesight, New America, and the National Governors’ Association.

SBA grants $3 million to support small business innovation and R&D commercialization

Twenty-four local economic development entities, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges and universities were granted $125,000 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. The 24 grant recipients, including seven that are members of SSTI (boldfaced below), provide support to small businesses developing and commercializing high-risk technologies.

MA authorizes more than $1 billion in new economic development activities

The Massachusetts legislature ended its 2018 session with a slate of bills related to tech-based economic development. Legislation for general economic development, life sciences industry, and green communities created new authorizations and provided for more than $1 billion in bond funding authority, with a substantial portion allocation to innovation-related activities. From broadband access to SBIR support to workforce development, the bills created a host of new opportunities for TBED in the Bay State.

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