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Final FY 2018 budget increases Regional Innovation, MEP, NSF

With final passage and signage pending at the time of publication, the federal budget for FY 2018 provides relatively strong support for innovation economies. The Regional Innovation Strategies program is funded at $21 million, MEP at $140 million and the National Science Foundation at $7.8 billion, increases for all organizations. Other notable innovation programs receiving at least level funding are SBA’s cluster and accelerator programs, DOE’s ARPA-E, NASA science and the National Institutes of Health.

Recent EDA grants support innovation – inspiration for other regions

Grant programs administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) under the Public Works and Economic Development Act (PWEDA) increasingly support projects to help distressed regions across the country to become more competitive in a science and technology-intensive global economy. The examples below of projects receiving federal PWEDA funds in just the past two months may help inspire similar innovation initiatives in other parts of the country.

EDA invests $30 million to drive innovation, entrepreneurship in coal impacted communities

Through its  2017 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2017) initiative, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced $30 million in funding to assist locally-driven efforts to communities and regions severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities. In total, EDA will support 35 projects in 16 states.

EDA announces $17M in awards via RIS program

On September 20, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced $17 million in awards to the 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program awards. SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council has worked with members to encourage Congress to support this program, which makes awards to support the creation and expansion of tech transformation networks (i6 Challenge) and early-stage seed capital funds (the Seed Fund Support). In total, EDA made 42 investments that leveraged over $22 million in private, state and local matching funds.

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.

EDA announces funding for coal communities

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced approximately $30 million in funding for the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC). As part of the FY 2017 appropriation for the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs, the ACC will assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

Regional Innovation Strategies 2017 funding available

The Economic Development Administration is seeking applications through June 23 for the 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies program. Through SSTI’s work with Congress, a record $17 million is available this year. Along with increased funding, the notice of funding availability includes a few changes from previous years. More information will also be available in a webinar SSTI is hosting with EDA on May 22 at 3 p.m. EDT.

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.

EDA Announces Funding for Entrepreneurial, Workforce Development in OK, PA SC, WY

Over the last several months, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced millions of dollars in grants to support tech-based economic development efforts in communities across the country (see recent Digest articles from August 18 and September 8).

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