dept of commerce

Census Bureau seeks comment on 2018-22 BRDS, to host webinar on 2017 ACS release

The U.S. Census Bureau seeks comments on all aspects of the Business Research and Development Survey for the 2018-2022 releases. Collected in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the survey provides comprehensive data on Research and Development (R&D) costs and detailed expenses by type and industry. The U.S. Census Bureau also announced that it would start collecting data about R&D on artificial intelligence and geographic detail of companies' R&D workforce in 2018.  For those interested in providing feedback, comments are due by October 23.

Commerce sets new, hands-off direction for department

In a shift from its past economic development efforts, the U.S. Department of Commerce FY2018-2023 strategic plan would move the department to focus almost exclusively on being a commercial services entity. The plan’s points of emphasis are on streamlined permitting and regulations, with direct government activity primarily reserved for common good services — e.g., economic data, cybersecurity and IP protection.

Senate Appropriations advances FY 2018 spending bills, would fund Regional Innovation at $21 million

Over the past week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations has passed bills to fund commerce and science, transportation, energy and water and agriculture. Regional Innovation Strategies would be funded at $21 million, an increase of $4 million over FY 2017. Other innovation proposals received mixed support, as the Senate cut $3.2 billion from commerce, justice and science funding and another $400 million from agriculture.

US House appropriations bills would make major cuts to innovation

The House Appropriations Committee began releasing FY 2018 “markup” budget bills this week, and the proposals would cut billions in non-defense spending. EDA would lose $100 million* in funding, SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs would lose $34 million, NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership would lose $30 million, and Energy’s ARPA-E would be eliminated, among other cuts.

Highlights from the President's FY 2018 Budget Request: Dept. of Commerce

The Department of Commerce houses a variety of science- and innovation-relevant agencies, most of which receive substantial cuts in the administration’s FY 2018 budget. Collectively, Commerce would lose many of its initiatives targeted to entrepreneurs, most notably the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

Budget deal supports innovation, research

Congress has passed a budget for FY 2017 that largely continues support for federal innovation programs and R&D investments. Among the highlights are $17 million for Regional Innovation Strategies (a $2 million increase over FY 2016), level funding of $130 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $5 million for SBA’s clusters program. In reviewing dozens of line items, offices that had received significant cuts in the White House’s skinny budget appear to receive some of the largest funding increases (such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Development Block Grant and ARPA-E). However, with the exception of multi-billion dollar increases for Department of Defense R&D, many increases are rather small in terms of overall dollars. This is, at least in part, a reflection of non-defense spending caps rising by only $40 million for FY 2017, limiting the availability of new funds. In this context, science and innovation gains are particularly impressive, with a five percent overall increase for federal R&D that particularly benefits NASA and NIH.

Upjohn: Every $1 invested in Manufacturing Extension Partnership program yields nearly $9 in return

A recent study by the W.E. Upjohn Institute finds that the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program generates a substantial economic and financial return on investment for the federal government. The $130 million invested in MEP during FY2016 by the federal government generated more than $1.1 billion in increased federal personal income tax, a ROI of roughly 8.7:1, according to Upjohn.

Ross confirmed Commerce secretary, addresses challenges

The Senate confirmed Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary Monday night by a vote of 72 to 27 and he was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday. The 79-year-old billionaire investor becomes the 39th head of the office, which oversees several key economic development organizations including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the Economic and Statistics Administration. In his address to commerce department employees on Wednesday, Ross said the president has given the department “more responsibility than ever before.” In addition to being more involved with “rebalancing a trade system that has gutted American manufacturing,” Ross said that Commerce will “play a key role in his historic effort to relieve the crushing burden of regulation that has shifted American economic growth overseas and made us uncompetitive on the world stage.”

Investing in Regional Innovation Strategies

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced this week that 35 organizations will receive nearly $15 million in funding to create and expand cluster-focused, proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early stage seed capital funds through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

EDA Awards Nearly $35M for Economic Prosperity in Several States, Coal-Impacted Communities

Over the last two months, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has made nearly $35 million in investments intended to spur economic prosperity across the country including nearly $28 million for communities impacted by transformations in the energy industry. These efforts are intended to unlock the potential of regional assets including community members, local institutions of higher education, and regional industies by funding entrepreneurship, innovation, research and development (R&D) activities, and other capacity-building efforts.

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