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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.


NSF to ‘reimagine’ science and engineering indicators with thematic reports

Each year, the National Science Foundation releases a report on Science and Engineering Indicatorsa voluminous compilation of data and analysis that looks at metrics which are particularly relevant to the field of technology-based economic development. Beginning in 2020, future versions of Indicators could look very different from their predecessors, according to a presentation by NSF program director Beethika Khan.

Focus on workforce reflected in federal action

In an executive order issued last month, President Trump wrote that the nation is facing a skills crisis. In response, and in order to develop “a national strategy to ensure that America’s students and workers have access to affordable, relevant, and innovative education and job training that will equip them to compete and win in the global economy,” the president established a National Council for the American Worker.

ETA announces availability of up to $100M for worker grants

The Employment and Training Administration has published the availability of up to $100 million for Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs), with funding amounts of up to $8 million for each award.

Recent Research: Auditing NIH-funded studies would improve reproducibility of scientific research

Approximately 30.2 percent of NIH-funded research studies produce false positive results that make those studies not replicable by other researchers, according to a recent study from researchers at Queensland University of Technology (AU). The authors of the study contend that the reproducibility crisis is driven by “publish or perish” incentives to increase the quantity of their papers at the cost of quality.

New startup hubs emerge despite continued concentration of VC

After considerable growth in the number of startups raising a first round of venture capital financing between 2009 and 2014, there has been a geographically widespread contraction, according to new research from Ian Hathaway at the Center of American Entrepreneurship, a D.C. based advocacy group. In America’s Rising Startup Communities, Hathaway explores the geography of first venture capital financing across U.S. metropolitan areas over the last eight years, finding that just 10 metro areas account for more than two-thirds of all first financings. From 2009 to 2017, the number of startups receiving a first financing increased by 84 percent, and more than one-third of regions saw an increase in deals.

White House R&D priorities updated for FY 2020 budget request

On July 31, OMB Director Mike Mulvaney distributed a memo outlining eight priority R&D subjects and five practices for leveraging R&D resources more effectively.

States turn to blockchain technology for growth, efficiency

The emerging blockchain industry has recently caught the attention of some state political leaders and economic development officials as a potential driver of economic growth as well as a potential solution to improve government services. To support economic growth, states are working on creating flexible regulatory sandboxes to allow blockchain-based startups to test their products.

Long-awaited director for OSTP announced, science community excited

After a record-long delay, President Donald Trump this week announced his intent to nominate a director for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy — Kelvin Droegemeier, who is the current secretary of science and technology for the state of Oklahoma. The announcement has generated excitement within the science and tech community, and C. Michael Carolina, executive director of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) called Droegemeier the “perfect choice.”

States given more power in revamped Perkins Act

President Donald Trump signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a reauthorization of the Perkins Act, on Tuesday, giving states greater control over setting their own goals for career and technical education (CTE), a change from the current law that requires states to get program goals approved by the secretary of education.

NASA awards $1.4M to help minority-serving colleges develop new STEM courses

NASA has indicated it is facing broad, workforce-related challenges that can have a negative impact on programs over the long run; over half of its workforce is more than 50 years old, for instance. One recent announcement from its Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) may be a small step to help address some of those challenges.

SBA announces funding for regional innovation clusters

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced its intention to award up to seven contracts for entities to lead regional innovation cluster initiatives. While two of the awards are partially set-aside for qualified small business, the remaining five are being competed full and open, meaning any entity is eligible. Each contract will be for a base year and four option years, with a base-year price not-to-exceed $500,000. An overview webinar will be held by the Program Office on Aug. 8, 2018, beginning at 4:00- p.m. EDT, and a link to this webinar will be provided on the solicitation’s FedBizOpps page.  Proposals are due Friday, Aug. 24.

NJ recommits to technology-based economic development

New Jersey, long considered a state-leader in technology-based economic development prior to the Great Recession, has committed to reinvesting in its innovation economy. In addition to the legislature overwhelmingly approving a bill to reconvene the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology — the state’s primary technology-based economic development organization — Gov. Phil Murphy also announced several other initiatives to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the state.

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