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SSTI Digest

EDA Seeks Comments on Federal Statistical Data

As a result of a recent study on the federal role in economic development, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is concerned that the current federal statistical system is not meeting the needs of economic development practitioners. EDA has commissioned a web-based survey to assess the usefulness of the data.

Venture Capital Investments End the Year at Record Level

Price Waterhouse recently announced that venture capital investments hit an all-time record in the fourth quarter of 1997. Total investments exceeded $3.7 billion, eclipsing the previous high of $3.5 billion reported in the third quarter of 1997. Compared to the fourth quarter of 1996, investments increased 50%. These findings were released in the Price Waterhouse Venture Capital Survey, a quarterly report of venture capital investments throughout the United States.

NSF Assesses Benefits, Outcomes of ERC Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released an assessment of its Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Program. The two-part study looked at two key aspects of the ERC program: ERC- industry interaction and effectiveness of former ERC graduate students in the workforce.

Benefits of R&D Tax Credit Reported

The R&D Credit Coalition recently released a report that concludes the federal R&D tax credit would pay for itself by boosting productivity and economic growth. According to the report, making the R&D tax credit permanent would stimulate an additional $41 billion in R&D activity by U.S. companies between 1998 and 2010.

Math & Science Performance Up in Most States

A recent study found that students are performing at higher levels in mathematics and are taking more higher-level math and science courses in the majority of the 40 states that participated in a recent study of U.S. mathematics and science education.

Use of Patent Fees Raises Concerns

Industry associations are expressing concern that the diversion of user fees from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is adversely affecting the speed of innovation. The PTO receives no taxpayer dollars and is supported entirely by user fees; however, for the last several years, most of those user fees have gone to the government's general fund to help balance the budget rather than to support PTO operations.

President of MSTF Named

Joel B. Russ was recently named the new president of the Maine Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF). Prior to accepting this position, Russ served as the President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Portland Region, as well as serving as a member of the MSTF's Board of Directors. MSTF is a state-chartered, non-profit organization whose mission is to stimulate science and technology-driven economic growth in Maine.

Gibbons to Leave OSTP, Lane to Head OSTP, Colwell to Lead NSF

Dr. Jack Gibbons, the President's science advisor and the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, announced late last week that he will resign effective March 15. Dr. Neal Lane, the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), has been nominated by President Clinton to replace Gibbons. Replacing Lane at NSF will be Dr. Rita Colwell, the president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Colwell was nominated earlier this year to become deputy director of NSF. Indications are that Dr. Joseph Bordogna, who has been acting deputy director, will continue in that capacity for the near term.

Pennsylvania Governor Promotes Technology Initiative

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge recently announced the release of The Technology 21 Report — The Keystone Spirit: Putting Technology to Work. Commissioned by Ridge and the Ben Franklin/IRC Partnership Board, the Technology 21 initiative is an industry-led project that will implement a comprehensive technology policy for Pennsylvania.

Positions Available

The Washington Technology Center (WTC) is seeking an Executive Director. WTC is the state of Washington's enterprise for joint industry-university technology development partnerships. The Center supports technologies for industry application for Washington companies in the areas of advanced materials and manufacturing, biotechnology/biomedical devices, computer systems and microelectronics.

FY 1999 Budget: S&T Highlights

On Monday, the Clinton Administration released its detailed budget proposal for FY99 that requests a 2.57% increase in research and development funding. The FY99 budget proposal calls for increasing spending on R&D to roughly $78.16 billion, up $1.96 billion from FY98.

Federal Government Announces New Plans to Support IT Worker Development

The Clinton Administration has announced initiatives to finance computer training and retraining programs to meet the dramatically increasing demand for Information Technology (IT) workers. The announcement occurred at the National Information Technology Workforce Convocation, an event to facilitate broad-based solutions to the worker shortage.