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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.


New evidence for opioids’ impacts on employment rates

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released a working paper that establishes connections between opioid prescription rates and employment rates. The authors use longitudinal data, as well as leveraging the Great Recession as a sort of natural experiment, to provide evidence that opioids not only relate to declining labor force participation, but have likely caused this outcome.

R&D expenditures at FFRDCs rise for fourth straight year; Pi Day Chart!

Research and development (R&D) expenditures at federally funded R&D centers (FFRDCs) increased for the fourth consecutive year in FY 2017, eclipsing $20 billion, according to new data from the National Science Foundation. FFRDCs are privately operated R&D organizations that are substantially financed by the federal government. The FFRDCs that performed the most R&D in 2017 were DOE’s Sandia National Lab, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and DOE’s Los Alamos National Lab. From FY 2016 to FY 2017, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, based in Pasadena, CA, experienced the largest increase in R&D expenditures, rising 25.5 percent to $2.3 billion.  In honor of pie day, the chart below shows the distribution of R&D at FFRDC’s by each administrator type.

 

Fed study shows little progress in integrating women into executive positions

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis showed that women’s increased participation in the labor force has not led to a correspondingly greater participation of women in the highest executive positions at the organizations where they work. In fact, the study showed that women are significantly less likely to lead U.S. businesses than men are, and that this share has remained largely unchanged over the 2000-2014 period.

Evaluation finds TEDCO programs have strong economic benefit

TEDCO’s current portfolio of assisted companies has grown to 326 companies and more than 3,100 jobs, according to an economic impact report by the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute and TEConomy Partners. TEDCO was created by the Maryland State Legislature in 1998 to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of technology from Maryland’s research universities and federal labs into the marketplace. The direct Maryland economic activity generated by these core programs totaled nearly $900 million in 2018, a considerable increase from the $572.3 million in economic activity reported in 2015. Of all TEDCO programs, the Seed Investment Fund has the largest direct impact, accounting for more than half of all employment and direct economic activity.

New White House science director, reports: American S&T leadership increasingly through industry

In January, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier as director of the White House Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and since the end of the partial federal government shutdown, the director and office have produced informative reports and speeches. Two common threads through these sources are emphases on continued American leadership in key tech sectors — and that this leadership will increasingly occur in conjunction with, or under the direction of, private industry.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 8: education, workforce, climate action and rural initiatives focus of innovation efforts

This week we nearly finish our state of the state coverage, save two remaining governors (Louisiana and Minnesota) who have yet to present their addresses. In reviewing the speeches for news on innovation efforts, we find education taking the main stage in Florida and Tennessee, while Alabama and Ohio’s governors are hoping to build the state’s workforce, and North Carolina, still recovering from natural disasters, wants to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide tuition assistance for community college.

Useful Stats: Distribution of R&D performance by state

Nearly three-quarters of all research and development was performed by the private sector in fiscal year 2016, though this share differed greatly across the states, according to an SSTI analysis of recently released data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF NCSES).

Fueled by businesses, US R&D performance eclipses half-trillion dollar mark in 2016 and 2017

For the first time, total research and development performed in the United States has surpassed $500 billion, reaching $515.3 billion in 2016, a $22 billion (4.4 percent) increase from the previous year, according to a recent info brief from the National Science Foundation. Furthermore, NSF estimates that larger increases are ahead, with early projections for 2017 showing an additional $26.9 billion increase (5.2 percent).

$25 million commitment builds coalition to increase women in STEM

In an effort to close the gender gap in STEM, a $25 million commitment from the Lyda Hill Foundation will help to build a coalition of science institutions along with names and brands in popular culture to help fund and elevate women in STEM fields. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the coalition members, will select 100 women in STEM professions to serve as ambassadors for the new IF/THEN Initiative, to help build skills and opportunities among middle school girls in science communication, public engagement, media, diversity and inclusion, and STEM education.

Regions, states utilize tech internships to build 21st century workforce

While the U.S. economy hovers near full employment, employers contend that the skills gap still persists and it is impacting their ability grow. To address the long-term issue of the skills gap, several states and regions have turned to S&T internships to help students develop the necessary technical skills to address the needs of industry. The development of an S&T internship program can serve as a potentially highly effective strategy for developing and retaining talent workers while also helping integrate underserved communities into the 21st century workforce. This article highlights several examples from across the country.

Shrinking funding for higher ed misunderstood; impacts reverberate

Decreasing state funding for higher education is having a negative effect on higher education in the New England states, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The report comes on the heels of a recent survey from American Public Media (APM) and the Hechinger Report showed that most Americans are unaware that governmental funding for public colleges and universities has actually decreased over the past 10 years. Decreased funding has resulted in higher tuition, more student loan debt, fewer approved patent applications, and implications for the New England economy, the Fed report asserts.

Useful stats: Educational attainment across the states, 2000-2017

From 2000 to 2017, the share of the U.S. population with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) increased from 24 percent to 31 percent. Meanwhile, the share of the population with a high school education (or less) decreased from 48 percent to 40 percent. All states experienced these directional changes in educational attainment. State performance relative to other states was relatively static, particularly for those performing best and worst in 2000, with few changes in the rankings of states by share of the population with a bachelor’s degree.

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