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.


Useful Stats: Performance of total R&D by state (2002-2016)

This month, SSTI research has examined changes in total R&D and total R&D intensity for each state over a 15-year period from 2002 to 2016. In this final installment of the series, this article looks at how the performance of R&D in the states changed over time.

Report highlights challenges, lessons learned for reshoring advanced manufacturing companies

Reshoring manufacturing companies claim to be able to innovate at increasing rates, but some cite challenges with hiring qualified workers and with the country’s regulatory and trade policy environment, according to a new report from Select USA, a national program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce focused on business investment. In Reinvesting in the USA: A Case Study of Reshoring and Expanding in the United States, authors from Select USA look at the experiences of six manufacturing companies that chose to reinvest in their U.S. operations, providing detail on what drove them to reshore, challenges and benefits to the move, and general lessons learned. They find that, although the reshoring process was more expensive and time consuming than the case companies expected, local partners such as economic development agencies provided valuable resources to make the process easier.

Small-batch manufacturing needs connections to grow

In a recent report focused on the impact of the small-scale manufacturing sector, the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) compiled what they say is a first-ever examination of what this emerging sector looks like and what may help charge its growth. They found an information gap on these businesses, as many of them combine design, art and production, and fall outside of data collection categories used to classify manufacturers.

Despite economic expansion, states suffer lingering effects of recession

An issue brief this month from the Pew Research Center asserts that despite the current national economic expansion still underway, states are still coping with lasting effects of the 18-month recession that ended in 2009. Calling it a “lost decade,” the authors found that although budget pressures have eased in several ways, states still have not fully restored cuts in funding for infrastructure, public schools and universities, the number of state workers, and support for local governments.

White House executive orders impacting science

Two recent executive orders issued by the White House have met with mixed reactions. While one order intended to ease the regulatory process for certain biotech products was met with favor by some in that industry, another order that could eliminate at least one third of the current federal advisory committees that was issued just days later, was roundly criticized.

Manufacturing rebound broad but uneven, report shows

Manufacturing growth is helping fuel one of the longest expansions in the U.S., steadily adding jobs since 2010, according to Economic Innovation Group’s (EIG) recent data brief, Manufacturing’s Real But Patchwork Rebound. While manufacturing job growth has risen over the past two years, the report notes that its growth was broad but uneven.

Four takeaways: USDA plans to move 500+ scientists to the KC Metro

Last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced plans to relocate nearly 550 USDA scientist positions from the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City metropolitan area. Originally announced in August 2018, the planned relocation of scientists within the USDA Economic Research Service, a statistical agency, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, has gained widespread attention.

Venture-backed Relativity Space poised to disrupt US commercial spaceflight

Founded in 2015, venture-backed aerospace firm, Relativity Space, is poised to disrupt the rocket manufacturing and launch markets as it secures long-term contracts at NASA’s Stennis and Kennedy Space Centers. Relativity is reimagining the process to iterate and scale rockets quickly, relying on its revolutionary “Stargate” metal 3D printer and new autonomous facilities to build and launch rockets in days rather than years.

NIH releases updated SBIR/STTR success rate data

Are you looking to increase the success rate of your state’s SBIR/STTR proposals? If so, a reminder that applications for the Small Business Administration’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program are due next Friday, June 28, at 4 p.m. EDT. This program provides one-year funding to organizations executing programs related to SBIR/STTR outreach, technical assistance, or financial support.

Opportunity Zones begin to be put to work

After 18 months, some communities are starting to see Opportunity Zones (OZ) investments. LISC, a community development entity with a long track record of project finance, has published a new guide to help communities plan to capitalize on the investment. These activities remain heavily focused on real estate projects but may still be informative for groups looking to bolster their regional innovation economy.

Adults without degrees can benefit from certificates

While higher education remains a viable path to economic advancement, adults without a postsecondary degree are increasingly benefitting from non-degree certificates and certifications, according to a recent report. As automation and technological advances demand more skills from workers in the changing economy, Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation partnered to determine the value and impact of the growing number of non-degree credentials.

New seed fund launched to expand early-stage funding opportunities outside Boston metro area

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) plans to launch a seed fund to support the development of life sciences startups outside of the Greater Boston area. These areas, many already rich in major research university and medical center anchor institutions, should be bolstered by this early-stage funding currently concentrated in Boston.

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