policy

NIST tech transfer recommendations a good starting point, more is needed

NIST released a draft paper in December making recommendations for improvements to federal technology transfer and commercialization policy. The agency’s ideas ranged from clarifying march-in rights to compelling agency participation in technology entrepreneurship development. Although NIST is one of the agencies affected by the shutdown, comments on the draft paper were due Jan. 9.

Rural broadband emerging as early theme for 2019

Action toward improving the availability and speed of broadband in rural areas is emerging as an early theme in 2019, continuing activity from 2018. Oregon, Washington and the USDA all announced new initiatives last month. In mid-December, the USDA announced the availability of $600 million in grants and loans to support improvement of broadband accessibility across rural America. Funding is split into three equal pools. Up to $200 million may be awarded as grants (deadline for proposals is April 29); $200 million may be awarded as low-interest loans (applications due June 28); and $200 million may be distributed in a mix of grants and loans (proposals are due May 29).  Projects funded through this initiative must serve communities with fewer than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Making innovation a priority with your governor: SSTI Conference preview

This week we continue our four-part series focused on navigating innovation priorities in a variety of settings. With the 2018 elections less than three weeks away and 36 states facing gubernatorial races, this week we focus on how to make innovation a priority with your governor. SSTI spoke with C. Michael Cassidy, director of the new Emory Biomedical Catalyst, and Christine Smith, managing director of innovation, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, about their experiences in working with their states’ governors over the years.

Policy Academy teams meet to strengthen manufacturers

As part of an official kick-off for a yearlong Policy Academy, interdisciplinary teams from around the country met in Washington, D.C., last week to advance policies that strengthen their manufacturing sectors. The four state participants – Kentucky, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and Utah – are comprised of leadership from governor’s offices, state economic development departments, Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers, manufacturing trade associations, and other manufacturing centers. In addition to facilitated working groups, the event featured speakers from Deloitte, The National Center for the Middle Market, NIST, MForesight, New America, and the National Governors’ Association.

Countries’ readiness for autonomous vehicles rated

Asserting that autonomous vehicles are poised to revolutionize both transportation and the way people live and work throughout the world, KPMG has developed a readiness index that evaluates 20 countries around the world according to four pillars. They include: policy and legislation; technology and innovation; infrastructure; and consumer acceptance.

NIST Director prioritizing transfer law, process updates

The American Institute of Physics reports that National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Walter Copan expressed interest in reviewing the Bayh-Dole and Stevenson-Wydler acts for possible revisions. Both pieces of legislation were passed in 1980 to facilitate the transfer of discoveries from the public to the private sector. Copan did not indicate specific changes but mentioned conflicts between federal and state law as a problem.

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