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Appalachian Regional Commission releases new strategic plan for 2022-2026

Building on takeaways from Appalachian stakeholders that included a preference to grow their own jobs through entrepreneurship and small business development rather than the traditional approach of business recruitment and new job creation, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) developed a four-year strategic plan.  The Appalachia Envisioned: A New Era of Opportunity plan sets strategic investment goals and objectives to build Appalachian businesses, workforce, infrastructure, culture and tourism, and community leaders.   

Useful Stats: Venture Monitor reports record-breaking year for VC deals

The Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor Q4 2021 reports unprecedented growth in venture capital activity through 2021. Although total deal count had decreased by almost 2.5 percent from 2019 to 2020, deal activity in 2021 surpassed that of both 2020 and 2019 – showing that 2021 saw substantial growth from pre-pandemic levels.

South Carolina Research Authority impact in excess of $1B in 2021, report finds

South Carolina’s innovation economy is benefiting from funding and support to academic institutions and tech startups from the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA). According to its annual report, SCRA produced an economic impact of over $1 billion in the state in 2021, an increase of about 5.4 percent from 2020. SCRA is a nonprofit corporation chartered by South Carolina to develop the state as a top innovation destination. SCRA and its affiliates provide loans and investments to South Carolina-based companies.

Report encourages bold leadership to broaden participation in STEM

Broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is vital for encouraging innovative advancements in scientific research and developing a diverse STEM workforce that engages citizens from all backgrounds. The Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) 2019-2020 Biennial Report to Congress outlines plans to broaden participation in STEM by focusing on "Making Visible the Invisible."

California proposes billions for climate initiatives, additional money for innovation programs

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom released his proposed FY 2022-2023 budget, which he said “reinforces our role as the global leader in climate protection, innovation and job creation.” The budget focuses on new investments and “positions the state as a global leader in innovation and solutions to both mitigate and adapt to the changing climate.” The proposal includes billions in one-time funding from various sources over five years to advance the state’s climate and opportunity budget and provide equitable climate solutions.

US National Climate Assessment underway, input sought

Since 1990, the United States has produced its own national climate assessment report to, in the words of the project’s director Allison Crimmins, “provide Americans with information on the accelerating impacts, vulnerabilities and responses to the climate crisis.” Work on the fifth assessment is well underway and NOAA has made available for public comment annotated outlines of each of the 32 chapters included in the draft report.

Recent Research: The role of alumni networks in VC fundraising

Loyalty to alma maters matters financially beyond March Madness™ and college sports betting, it turns out — to such a degree that policy makers, venture development organizations and university seed funds hoping to attract equity investments for local innovation startups should pay considerable attention to the educational attainment section of founders’ LinkedIn profiles or resumes.

New SEC regulations on investments related to China

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released guidance through its Division of Corporation Finance to address the risks of investing in companies that are based in or have a majority of their business operations in the People’s Republic of China. This action continues a trend of expanding regulation of investments related to China, and the SEC’s statement clarifies that the purpose of the disclosures is to protect investors from recently-enacted restrictions by the Chinese government on China-based companies in regard to raising capital from foreign investors.

Useful Stats: 2020 Higher Ed R&D expenditures increased in most states despite pandemic

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and recession, most states experienced growth in annual Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) expenditures between 2019 and 2020. Given higher education’s role in generating knowledge that catalyzes innovative new technologies developed by high-growth startups, R&D conducted at institutions of higher education is one of the most important metrics for evaluating an area’s innovation economy. This edition of Useful Stats examines data from NSF’s recently updated 2020 HERD survey, specifically examining one- and 10-year changes in HERD spending by state.

Initial venture capital data: $330 billion invested, $128 billion raised

PitchBook and NVCA have published an initial look at the Venture Monitor Q4 2021, and the data already suggest an astounding level of activity in 2021. As of Dec. 31, PitchBook had identified $330 billion invested across more than 15,000 deals, substantial increases over the $167 billion invested across 12,000 deals in 2020.

Economic study shows robotics boom in Pittsburgh creating new businesses and jobs

Celebrating its 25 years in operation, the National Robotics Engineering Center’s (NREC) success is revealed in an economic study commissioned by Carnegie Mellon University “to inform the future development of boundary-pushing institutions.” Established decades ago as “a new model of academic-industry partnership,” the NREC study, conducted by Fourth Economy Consulting, reveals how the robotics institution changed the economy of the neighborhood, region and robotics industry in Pittsburgh.

2021 Carnegie Classifications of Higher Education Institutions released

In January, the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education released an updated 2021 classification list for universities. In this update, nine more universities have achieved the “Doctoral/Very High Research Activity” or “R1” category, the highest possible rank among research universities. Six additional universities were also added to the list following a six-week review period.

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