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SSTI Digest

SENATE TECHNOLOGY CAUCUS HOLDS ROUNDTABLE

The U.S. Senate Science and Technology Caucus, chaired by Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), held a roundtable discussion last week on the future of American innovation and competitiveness, specifically how to maintain America's science and technology edge in the world marketplace.

AIR FORCE SBIR PRE-SOLICITATION ANNOUNCEMENT

The U.S. Air Force has announced that its Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program topics for FY99 will be released in mid-June. The Air Force is pre-releasing its topics before the Department of Defense's Pre-Solicitation in order to provide small businesses the maximum amount of time to ask technical questions. This early release offers the additional benefit of giving companies enough time to start marketing and networking.

NSF RELEASES ERC PERFORMANCE STUDY

A recent study found that 90 percent of industry participants benefitted in some way by participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) Program. Nearly a quarter of all firms reported having developed a new product or process as a result of their interaction with an ERC, and two-thirds reported that their firm's competitiveness had increased.

PATH INITIATIVE UNVEILED

The Clinton Administration has unveiled a new initiative entitled Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) which it believes could save consumers $11 billion a year in energy costs by 2010 and reduce annual carbon emissions by nearly 24 million tons.

SBIR STUDY UNDERWAY

SSTI has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and the National Institute for Standards & Technology (NIST) to complete a study of state SBIR/STTR programs. The project is for the SBIR Working Group of the U.S. Innovation Partnership. As part of the study, SSTI will be interviewing state SBIR/STTR assistance providers and federal SBIR program managers over the next several weeks on a range of issues.

1998 VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENTS CONTINUE 1997'S RECORD PACE

Price Waterhouse recently announced that venture capital investments in the first quarter of 1998 hit $3.6 billion, just slightly below the all-time high of $3.7 billion set in the fourth quarter of 1997. Compared to the first quarter of 1997, investments increased 54%. These findings were released in the Price Waterhouse Venture Capital Survey, a quarterly report of venture capital investments throughout the United States.

SMALL BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR NAMED

Ross Youngs, president of Univenture, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, has been named the National Small Business Person of the Year. Youngs was selected from a field of 53 Small Business Administration (SBA) small business winners representing the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

COLWELL CONFIRMED AS NEW NSF DIRECTOR

Rita Colwell was confirmed by the Senate on May 22 as the new National Science Foundation (NSF) Director. She is expected to be sworn in within a few weeks. Dr. Colwell was the President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has a Ph.D. in marine microbiology from the University of Washington.

Maine Legislators Pass R&D Initiatives

Maine lawmakers have passed an R&D investment package to increase the state's research and development capacity. The package includes a $20 million bond issue that must be approved by the voters in November.

Tennessee Creates New Organization to Lead S&T Efforts

The State of Tennessee has created a private, not-for-profit corporation--- the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation---to stimulate economic development through Tennessee's science and technology resources.

MEP to Help Small Manufacturers with Year 2000 Issues

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and its nationwide network of centers are stepping up efforts to help smaller manufacturers avoid being bitten by the "millennium bug." The Stamford, Conn.-based GartnerGroup, a leading authority on information technology issues, has reported that as of 1997, 88 percent of all companies with fewer than 2,000 employees had not yet started Year 2000 remediation projects.

People

Dr. Eugene Wong has been named assistant director for engineering at the National Science Foundation. As the head of NSF's engineering directorate, he will oversee a $320 million annual budget. His most recent position was with a start-up California company.

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