• SSTI's 2019 Annual Conference - September 9th-11th in Providence, RI

    SSTI and conference host Rhode Island Commerce Corporation invite you to join your peers for conversations around emerging challenges and opportunities related to science, tech, innovation & entrepreneurship.

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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.


NY Regional Councils awarded more than $20 million for TBED, $763 million overall

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced more than $763 million for economic development projects throughout the state as part of the regional economic development council (REDC) competition. The program, which tasks leaders in 10 regions to determine economic development priorities, has awarded more than $6.1 billion across 7,300 projects since its inception in 2011. In each region, funding went toward projects such as infrastructure, main street revitalization, feasibility studies, strategic planning, microenterprise funds, and workforce development.

Rhode Island announces $12 million for Innovation Campus projects

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced the first three projects for the state’s Innovation Campus Program, an effort to support the commercialization of academic research in key industries such as cybersecurity, data analytics and agricultural technology. The centers, in partnership with the University of Rhode Island and located in Kingston and Providence, will receive a combined $12 million from the state. The funding stems from a $20 million innovation bond approved by the state’s voters in 2016.

NASBO finds state finances improving

In its latest report on the conditions of the states, the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) found that conditions continue to improve and show more stability, with funding expected to grow 4.3 percent in FY 2019. NASBO also reported that 40 states saw general fund revenue collections coming in higher than budget projections in fiscal 2018. General fund revenues grew 6.4 percent in fiscal 2018, due to an increase in personal income tax collections, and are projected to grow 2.1 percent in fiscal 2019.

New report urges consistency from higher ed on job placement rates

A new report from The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) released last week describes the misleading perceptions resulting from employment rates used by the three entities tasked with oversight of the U.S. higher education system and proposes two specific measurements that could better inform student choices.

NIST recommends improvements for federal tech transfer, seeks comments

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a paper making recommendations to improve federal technology transfer. Recommendations are organized around five topics: regulation and administration, private-sector engagement, R&D workforce, tech transfer tools, and metrics and benchmarks. These recommendations — and the responses they generate — are expected to lead to regulatory and legislative proposals over the course of the next two years.

Useful Stats: GDP per capita by county, 2012-2015

For the first time, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has released prototype gross domestic product (GDP) data at the county level. This preliminary data, which includes the years 2012 to 2015, provides a granular look at county-level productivity. Furthermore, standardizing this data by population – GDP per capita – makes it a useful metric for comparing counties over time and across the country.  From 2012 to 2015, per capita GDP grew in 82 percent of counties. Of the 138 counties with a population of more than 500,000 (large counties), GDP per capita increased in all but five from 2012 to 2015, led by Palm Beach County, Florida (32.2 percent increase), Santa Clara County, California (28.6 percent) and Denton County, Texas (27.6 percent). Using data from the BEA and the U.S. Census, SSTI has prepared a spreadsheet showing GDP per capita at the county level from 2012 to 2015, as well as an interactive map highlighting this data.

Moving the needle in a positive direction in the innovation economy

Bringing the innovation community together and examining how it has advanced — or how it hasn’t — is one of the driving goals of SSTI’s annual conferences. This year we brought together thought-provoking leaders to help reflect on whether stakeholders in the innovation economy are moving the needle in the right direction.

Federal government presents strategic plan for STEM education

Envisioning a future where all Americans will have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education, and where the U.S. will be the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation and employment, the federal government released a five-year strategic plan for STEM education. Noting that the federal government has a key role to play in furthering STEM education and removing barriers to participation in STEM careers, especially for women and other underrepresented groups, the report issues a call to action for a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, communities and employers.

How can the US address the manufacturing skills gap?

With a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion over the next decade, a new report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute projects that the manufacturing skills gap may leave more than 2 million positions unfilled from 2018 to 2028. In the 2018 Skills Gap in Manufacturing Study, the authors find that the talent shortage is accentuated by two factors: a prolonged economic expansion that has increased the number of job openings in manufacturing and projected growth in baby boomer retirement. Although these two factors are expected to lead to more than 4.6 million manufacturing jobs over the next decade, the authors’ research finds that fewer than half of these jobs are likely to be filled. In addition to making the case that this skills shortage poses risks to the broader economy, the authors also put forward strategic approaches to influence a more positive employment future over the long-term.

Global panel planned to study changes wrought by AI

The governments of France and Canada said last week they would create a joint International Panel on Artificial Intelligence (IPAI) to study and respond to the changes resulting from artificial intelligence and facilitate an international collaboration focused on sharing research and best practices.

Commerce announces $21 million in new Regional Innovation Strategies awards

At SSTI's 2018 Annual Conference this week, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced 40 awardees for $21 million in the latest round of the Regional Innovation Strategies program. The program which makes grants for the i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support, has now provided $78 million to 180 projects across 46 states, DC and Puerto Rico.

Congratulations to SSTI members: Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Excell Partners, Kansas State University, Launch New York, Launch Place, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, New Jersey Innovation Institute, Research Foundation for SUNY, University of Michigan, University of Missouri, and VilCap on their awards.

Impacts of H-1B visa reductions on economic growth

Over the last two years, foreign-born workers have faced  increased difficulty in obtaining work visas, a condition that could lead to negative impacts on the future economic prosperity of the United States. Under the Trump administration, there also has been a reduction in the cap for H-1B visas from 85,000 in 2016 to 65,000 this year. In addition to a reduction in the number of H-1B visas offered, human resource professionals report that the U.S. visa application process has become more difficult due to increased complexity, longer preparation times, and increased requests for additional information, according to a survey by Envoy

The cap reductions have driven public discourse regarding the policy’s economic impact. Proponents of the reductions argue that H-1B visas reduce opportunities for domestic-born workers. Critics of these policies contend that generally domestic workers actually benefit from federal policies that attract skilled foreign-born workers. Over the past several months, three research articles looked to measure the impact that these immigration policies can have and have had on domestic workers and economic growth.

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