Report reveals importance of foreign policy to middle class’ economic standing

The state of America’s foreign policy and the livelihoods of its middle-class are inextricably linked, according to a new report from Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The report’s authors, using Ohio as a lens for their examination, conduct a thorough quantitative and qualitative analysis on this relationship. They find that the relationship between foreign policy and the middle class is complicated, but that improving outcomes for the middle class will ultimately require a comprehensive foreign policy strategy that is tied to economic development. Notably, unlike the many pieces authored from academics and think-tank researchers on the coasts that focus on “the heartland” or foreign policy more broadly, this report features local perspectives from more than 100 economic development stakeholders across six regions in Ohio. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace plans to release additional state-level case studies throughout 2019.

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. The mission of the IPAI “will be to support and guide the responsible adoption of artificial intelligence that is human-centric and grounded in respect for human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation and economic growth.” The announcement was made by Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau and Mounir Mahjobi, the French secretary of state for digital affairs, in conjunction with the G7 Multistakeholder Conference on Artificial Intelligence that took place last week in Montreal, Quebec.

China VC market surpasses US

For the first time, the Chinese venture capital (VC) market has surpassed the U.S. VC market in total dollars invested in Q2 of 2018, according to Crunchbase. Driven by mega rounds and strong corporate VC, Chinese startups were able to raise more VC money in Q2’18 than their American counterparts. The strong Q2 for Chinese’s firms was driven by a very strong April. Chinese companies attracted approximately $15.6 billion that month. In comparison, U.S. companies attracted an average of U.S. $9.4 billion per month in Q1’18. In total, Chinese firms attracted approximately 47 percent of all reported VC dollars invested in Q2’18. If this trend continues, 2018 may become the year of the Chinese VC market.

Interactive tools chart migration of college graduates, international students

For the economic development community as a whole, the issue of retaining and attracting talent is of the utmost importance. While a visualization in a Wall Street Journal article looks at where graduates move after college, an interactive analysis by the Pew Research Center examines where foreign student graduates work in the United States. Taken together, these two tools allow the user to learn more about their region by shedding light on the destinations of recent domestic and international college graduates.

EU launches fund-of-funds to stimulate European VC markets

The European Commission and European Investment Fund announced the creation of VentureEU – a fund-of-fund initiative intended to increase the availability of venture capital for the continent’s startup community. Through the VentureEU effort, the EU will invest approximately €410 million (approximately 507.8 million USD) across six funds run by established European fund managers. The EU has two agreements already in place with the additional four anticipated by the end of 2018.

Canadian government announces winners of C$950 supercluster initiative

While the United States grapples with yet another proposed budget that drastically reduces investments in innovation, Canada’s federal government has announced that five industry-led organizations will share up to C$950 million as part of the country’s supercluster initiative. The superclusters program, a part of the Trudeau government’s innovation and skills agenda announced last year, seeks to encourage leaders from business, research institutions, and the public sector to support the growth of targeted industry sectors. Other elements of the strategy include investments in venture capital, entrepreneurship, and collaborative R&D projects. Although there were originally nine semi-finalists for the superclusters awards, many of the losing bids ended up joining forces with the five winning initiatives: 

Entrepreneurs attracted $5.6 billion in FDI to establish new businesses in 2016

Foreign investors expended $373.4 billion in 2016 to acquire, establish, or expand U.S. businesses — a 15 percent decrease (approximately $66.2 billion) from $439.6 billion in 2015 — according to an infobrief from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Of that $373.4 billion, approximately $5.6 billion was deployed to support the creation of new businesses. BEA reports that foreign direct investment (FDI) in newly acquired, established, or expanded foreign-owned businesses was responsible for employing 480,800 individuals. The BEA data also provides information on investments broken out by select industries, state, and type of investment made (e.g., startup capital, expansion capital, or business acquisition).


Economic development potential of blockchain tech industry highlighted

In Blockchain and Economic Development: Hype vs. Reality, experts from the Center for Global Development address the economic development potential of blockchain technology including its potential and existing hurdles to its growth. After explaining blockchain technology’s nuts and bolts, the authors highlight technology areas that would benefit from blockchain technology and the benefits it could offer with wider adoption, including facilitating faster and cheaper payments; providing a secure digital infrastructure for verifying identity; securing property rights; and, making transactions more secure and transparent. 

Foreign governments capitalize on shifts in US policy

Since President Trump has taken office, the U.S. has seen several dramatic shifts in science and technology (S&T) policy from the previous administration—changes that several foreign leaders believe will create economic growth opportunities for their countries. As the Trump administration continues to roll out its S&T policy directives, these nations seem committed to growing their economies while chipping away at U.S. dominance in S&T. The most recent efforts by foreign governments fall into policy areas focused on supporting climate change and attracting talented immigrants.

Canadian government launches C$950 million superclusters initiative

In an effort to incentivize large-scale industry partnerships, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada will invest up to C$950 million (US$708.5 million) between 2017 and 2022 in superclusters as part of the nation’s Innovation and Skills Plan. ISED Canada defines superclusters as “innovation hotbeds” that build on the advantages of clusters, “dense area of business activity containing a critical mass of large and small companies, post-secondary and other research institutions.” Grants, expected to be in the order of C$125 million to C$250 million (US$93.2 to US$186.5 million), will be distributed to three to five industry-led consortiums in Canada working around industries where the nation has pre-existing strengths (e.g., advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health/biosciences, clean resources, or infrastructure and transportation). Awarded consortiums will implement market-driven strategies across topics such as increased industry partnerships, collaborative research and development, and the commercialization of new products, among others.


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