innovation

Recent Research: Exposure to innovation more important than financial incentives in increasing the number of inventors, researchers find

Recent research revealed that exposure to innovation (e.g., mentorship program and immersive K-12 STEM education experience) during childhood and young adulthood has a greater effect on the decision to pursue careers in innovation than financial incentives. Researchers Alexander M. Bell, Raj Chetty, and their co-authors developed a model to analyze the impact of several factors on inventor career choices.

SSTI Feature: Epicenter Memphis seeking big impact in regional innovation network

A note from the publisher (aka, Dan Berglund): Two of the most frequent questions SSTI staff is asked are: “What program, initiative, movement has piqued your interest?” and, “Who should we be watching and learning from?” While the answers are somewhat implied in what we cover in The Digest, host webinars on, and feature in conference content, look for occasional pieces in 2019 labeled “SSTI Feature” that offer a sampling of our answers to those questions.

New Farm Bill programs aim to cultivate rural innovation

The latest Farm Bill, expected to be signed into law Thursday, contains provisions that could provide significant new tools for rural innovations. The two greatest opportunities are the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program, which creates an innovation cluster and strategy program for rural regions, and a change to allow the existing Community Facilities program to support incubators, makerspaces, and job training centers.

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.

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.

Will balanced budget requirements result in state innovation cuts?

Strict balanced budget requirements, tax or expenditure limits and party control of a state legislature and governorship can influence innovation funding when states respond to deficits. As states face new political landscapes and decision makers in their legislatures, the implications of a recent study on the topic emphasize the importance of keeping innovation on a state’s agenda.

Rural Innovation Initiative working to bridge opportunity gap

Rural communities across the country have the opportunity to build capacity to create innovation-based jobs with a new initiative spearheaded by the Center on Rural Innovation. Communities that are already working on building new entrepreneurship capacity will receive on-site technical assistance as they execute an innovation hub strategy. Those communities will need to secure live-work space for the hub, raise up to $500,000 in operating funding and apply for matching funds at the end of Q1 2019.

Congressional elections may shake up federal science, innovation policy

Tuesday’s elections resulted in a Democratic majority in the House, but the changes for the next Congress go far beyond this outcome. Flipping party control means new chairs for every committee in the House; many Senate Republicans in leadership positions are reaching their party’s term limits, yielding new committee seniority; and, retirements and incumbent losses yield further changes. For the bipartisan issues of science and innovation, this shake up will produce new opportunities and uncertainties.

Key ballot initiatives to impact state futures

SSTI has reviewed the ballot initiatives across the country that affect innovation. Several states have energy initiatives on their ballots, while higher education funding is at play in Maine, Montana, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Utah could become only the second state to fund its schools through gas taxes, if a measure there is passed. At the same time, four states have ballot issues addressing redistricting commissions which could have a significant impact on state legislative makeup when lines are redrawn after the 2020 census.

NIST connecting entrepreneurs, industry and investors in the cloud

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is funding a program to better connect entrepreneurs, industry and investors with inventions from federally funded R&D. NIST has created a partnership with National Technical Information Service (NTIS) and will invest $1.7 million of its Lab to Market funding to complete the project.

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