NSF: States’ increase R&D spending; surpasses $2.5 billion in FY 2017

States invested $1.1 billion into health-related R&D expenditures in FY 2017 according to the newest results from the annual survey of state government R&D, conducted by the National Science Foundation.  Increasing by 13 percent from the previous year, health-related R&D helped push overall state government spending on R&D up by 7 percent over the 2016 figures. State investments in energy-related R&D, on the other hand, dropped by 16.6 percent ($61 million) to a total of $307 million in FY 2017. The following chart shows the distribution of all states’ R&D expenditures across sectors or functions.

NSF announces $20M to support commercialization of NSF-funded research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced approximately $20 million in new funding through its Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program. The PFI program offers NSF-funded researchers at institutions of higher education opportunities to connect new knowledge to societal benefit through translational research efforts and/or partnerships that encourage, enhance, and accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship.

NSF uses problem solving as basis for community innovation investments

The life-risking delay in emergency response for rural areas, inadequate health care access in “medical deserts,” drinking water contamination, and the urgency of need for broad dissemination of information regarding natural disasters such as flooding and landslides are among the themes explored for civically-focused innovation in the latest round of competition for grants from the National Science Foundation’s Smart  & Connected Communities (SCC) program. NSF announced 13 projects involving collaborations among 35 institutions would share $22.6 million in funding to address societal challenges through the latest information and communication technologies.  

NSF invites submissions to help set U.S. agenda for fundamental science & engineering research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the 2026 Idea Machine – a prize competition to help set the U.S. agenda for future fundamental research in science and engineering. Participants can earn cash prizes and receive public recognition by submitting the pressing research questions that need to be answered in the coming decade. The top submission(s) will help guide NSF in the development of its next set of “Big Ideas.” Monetary prizes include a grand prize of $26,000 and approximately 12 Blue-Ribbon Panel awards of $1,000 each. Up to an additional 30 submissions will receive thank you letters from NSF leadership and 100 entries will receive public recognition by having their ideas posted on the Idea Machine website. Submissions are due Oct. 26.


NSF, NASA step up minority STEM-focused awards

As the National Science Foundation points out in a recent press release, people of Hispanic descent comprise 16 percent of the U.S. workforce, but only 6 percent of people working in STEM-related occupations.  Other minorities, including African Americans and Native Americans are also underrepresented in the career paths most critical to maintain American preeminence in innovation and science. New funding rounds distributed by three federal initiatives at NSF and NASA intend to help improve the imbalance.

NSF updates Science and Engineering State Profiles

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released updated Science and Engineering (S&E) State Profiles – an online portal that provides state-level rankings and totals of S&E data for the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The portal also provides a data tool that allows users to compare up to seven states or download entire data sets. In the most recent update, NSF allows user to explore data for the years 2015 to 2017. S&T indicator by state include, but are not limited to:

NSF to ‘reimagine’ science and engineering indicators with thematic reports

Each year, the National Science Foundation releases a report on Science and Engineering Indicatorsa voluminous compilation of data and analysis that looks at metrics which are particularly relevant to the field of technology-based economic development. Beginning in 2020, future versions of Indicators could look very different from their predecessors, according to a presentation by NSF program director Beethika Khan.

White House R&D priorities updated for FY 2020 budget request

On July 31, OMB Director Mike Mulvaney distributed a memo outlining eight priority R&D subjects and five practices for leveraging R&D resources more effectively. The White House intends for the memo to serve as guidance in the development of budget submissions from the executive departments and agencies for FY 2020.  Basic and applied research are to be emphasized in the agency R&D plans, which would be a shift from data on recent trends released by the National Science Foundation the day before the Mulvaney memo. NSF found that the development side of R&D in the FY 2017 federal R&D obligations, passed in May of the first year of the Trump administration, increased by 7 percent from the year prior, while research expenditures actually declined by 3 percent.

USDA announces I-FAST prize competition

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA, is announcing the I-FAST prize competition to develop and implement the Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) program. NIFA will partner with NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) to provide entrepreneurship training to NIFA grantees under this pilot program. The goals are to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from NIFA supported academic research. Over six months, the selected teams will learn what it will take to achieve an economic impact with their particular innovation. The final goal of the competition is to facilitate technology transfer of innovations that can make an impact in the marketplace.

Four ways the White House reorganization plan could affect American innovation

The White House Office of Management and Budget released Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, a plan for reorganizing federal agencies. On topics related to innovation, the wide-ranging plan would make changes to education, workforce, economic development, small business and more. Some of the suggestions could advance with administrative actions only, while many will require congressional support. As with previous initial proposals from the administration, this document does not provide many of the details necessary to evaluate the real intention and opportunity of each proposal. The actual effects of implementation for many suggestions could range from reduced administrative overhead to funding reductions totaling billions of dollars, for example depending on the interpretation of “consolidate.” These four ideas from OMB have the greatest potential to impact support for innovation economies.


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