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SSTI Digest

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.

Working with state legislatures: SSTI Conference preview

This week we wrap up our four-part series focused on navigating innovation priorities in a variety of settings.  Following the November elections, many new faces will be a part of your state legislature. Communicating effectively with these lawmakers can help ensure the success of your programs. This week we hear from Leslee Gilbert, vice president, and Tom Quinn, associate vice president, both from Van Scoyoc Associates (jointly responding as VSA below), as well as Angela Andrews, director of the legislative staff service program at the National Conference of State Legislatures on the do’s and don’ts of working with your legislature.

TBED Book Review: Research Universities and the Public Good

Jason Owen-Smith, executive director of the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) at the University of Michigan and a researcher with work covered previously by SSTI, has written a book explaining the benefits of university R&D.

NSF uses problem solving as basis for community innovation investments

The life-risking delay in emergency response for rural areas, inadequate health care access in “medical deserts,” drinking water contamination, and the urgency of need for broad dissemination of information regarding natural disasters such as flooding and landslides are among the themes explored for civically-focused innovation in the latest round of competition for grants from the National Science Foundation’s Smart  & Connected Communities (SCC) program.

Green tech transfer: nature-inspired innovation for climate change adaptation

Still treated as a novelty by most mainstream U.S. media, there is growing global use of nature-inspired innovations to deal with a number of challenges and undesired properties of business-as-usual, whether it be infrastructure, agriculture or product design, production, use or disposal. Collectively comprising a number of approaches —such as biomimicry, green chemistry, or regenerative manufacturing — nature-inspired innovation incorporates design and use principles borrowed from and complementary to nature.  The most promising aspects of all of these efforts are their economic value and efficiency compared to life cycle analyses of similar products and processes development through conventional means.

Making innovation a priority with your governor: SSTI Conference preview

This week we continue our four-part series focused on navigating innovation priorities in a variety of settings. With the 2018 elections less than three weeks away and 36 states facing gubernatorial races, this week we focus on how to make innovation a priority with your governor. SSTI spoke with C. Michael Cassidy, director of the new Emory Biomedical Catalyst, and Christine Smith, managing director of innovation, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, about their experiences in working with their states’ governors over the years.

ARC announces $26.5M in POWER grants

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced its latest round of grants for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER). The 35 grants totaling $26.5 million support workforce training and education in manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and other industry sectors; invest in infrastructure enhancements to continue developing the region's tourism, entrepreneurial, and agriculture sectors; and, increase access to community-based capital, including impact-investing funds, venture capital, and angel investment streams. The awards are projected to create or retain over 5,400 jobs and leverage more than $193 million in private investment into 59 Appalachian counties.

A few of the awards (with SSTI members in boldface) are highlighted here:

Useful Stats: Science and engineering workforce, by state (2003-2017)

Across the country, there are nearly 6.9 million scientists and engineers, representing 4.8 percent of the nation’s workforce. There are 20 states having at least 100,000 workers in these occupations. Scientists and engineers are concentrated around the nation’s capital, making up the largest share of the workforce in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. From 2003 to 2017, the number of scientists and engineers grew the fastest in Arkansas, North Dakota, and Utah. With an interactive map and downloadable spreadsheet, this article breaks down the changes in the science and engineering workforce across the United States over the last 15 years.

Educational attainment helps drive community prosperity

Despite an uneven economic recovery, fewer Americans are living in distressed communities and more are living in prosperous ones, according to a recent report from the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), a Washington, D.C.-based policy and advocacy organization. Comprised of seven factors measuring socioeconomic health, the Distressed Community Index (DCI) divides the country’s zip codes (communities) into five quintiles — prosperous, comfortable, mid-tier, at-risk, and distressed — and tells the story of the country’s economic health across two time periods, the recession years of 2007 to 2011 and the recovery years of 2012 to 2016. EIG finds that the employment and business establishment growth during the economic recovery has been mostly limited to prosperous communities, where the population tends to be more educated and the housing vacancy rate may be lower.

Women hold only 9 percent of equity value in their startups, report finds

While women comprise approximately 33 percent of the combined founder and employee workforce at startup companies, they hold just 9 percent of all equity value in those companies, according to The Gap Table from Carta – a software platform for managing startup equity and ownership. The new report was based upon capitalization table (cap table) data from more than 6,000 companies with a combined total of nearly $45 billion in equity value. The cap table is a list of owners of a company and includes information about the percentages of ownership, equity dilution, and value of equity in each round of investment. The researchers found that:

  • Women make up 35 percent of equity-holding employees, but only hold 20 percent of employee equity; and,
  • Women make up 13 percent of founders, but hold 6 percent of founder equity.

Federal government releases new advanced manufacturing strategy

In honor of National Manufacturing day last week, the Trump administration released the Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing. Developed in partnership with the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the report is intended to outline the administration’s vision for American leadership in advanced manufacturing across industrial sectors. It advocates pursuing three goals: develop and transition new manufacturing technologies; educate, train, and connect the manufacturing workforce; and, expand the capabilities of the domestic manufacturing supply chain.

NC finds success with SBIR/STTR matching grants

An evaluation of the One North Carolina Small Business Matching Fund, a statewide initiative providing grants of up to $50,000 to recent SBIR/STTR awardees, suggests that the program is achieving its goals of creating high-skill, high-wage jobs. Over the past 10 funding cycles, the $17.2 million deployed across 250 small businesses has created or retained more than 900 innovation-oriented jobs, and raised an additional $5.6 million in tax revenue for the state, according to the analysis performed by the NC Department of Commerce.

Climate change alarm bell rung; action agenda outlined for cities

Monday’s widely covered release of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlining the climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting  global warming to 1.5°C sounded an alarm bell of scenarios that could ensue if no corrective action is taken. The report includes a summary for policy makers and finds that limiting global warming would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry and cities. Another report from IPCC released earlier and overshadowed by the global impact report, focuses on specific ways cities around the world could develop a strategic framework to cope with the impacts of climate change. The Cities IPCC report contains input from more than 700 scientists, policy researchers, civic leaders and practitioners from across the planet in a wide range of disciplines, and includes a research and action agenda.