policy

SSTI members host regional entrepreneurship policy meetings

Five SSTI member organizations — Conductor, Nebraska Business Development Center, University of Louisville, University of South Alabama, and Verge — were awarded micro grants by SSTI to host policy meetings with state and local officials in their regions about the needs of innovation-driven entrepreneurs. The awards were made possible thanks to a project with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In total, the seven meetings held by these groups connected dozens of entrepreneurs and support organizations with federal, state and local elected officials, program administrators and staff.

Public input sought on federal bioeconomy strategy, needs

With the Dec. 20 release of two Requests for Information (RFIs), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy seeks public input to help guide the development and deployment of the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, which is intended to use the two disciplines to advance innovative solutions in health, climate change, energy, food security, agriculture, and supply chain resilience.

Why larger firms produce higher value inventions

A working paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research asked the question, “Do large firms produce more valuable inventions, and if so, why?” An excerpt of an analysis of the paper that appeared in the November 2022 issue of the NBER Digest follows with additional consideration from SSTI Vice President Mark Skinner on its implications for technology-based economic development.

SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council publishes priorities for competitiveness legislation

Today, SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council published a letter to Congress urging the adoption of key tech-based economic development policies in the final version of competitiveness legislation that will soon be conferenced between the two chambers. Known as the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA) in the Senate and the America COMPETES Act of 2022 in the House, these bills are proposing to authorize new activities to support science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship across numerous federal agencies. The Council has been talking with offices across the Hill about these proposals throughout the session and will continue to do so as the bill moves to conference.

Legislation to reform Opportunity Zones misses the forest for the trees

Earlier this month, legislators introduced bipartisan and bicameral legislation to modify Opportunity Zones (OZs). The beneficial changes would include a reporting requirement, which is overdue for the program,[i] as well as decertification of relatively wealthy zones. However, the bill also introduces questionable changes, including extending the program by two years, shortening the holding period for one of the tax benefits by one year, adding zones with zero population in former industrial sites, and proposing to spend up to $1 billion on technical assistance. The bill also fails to address several fundamental concerns with OZs.

SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council talks appropriations with Congress

As Congress has been finalizing the FY 2022 budget, SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council spent the week meeting with offices to discuss FY 2023 appropriations, which will begin ramping up over the coming weeks. The Council’s funding priorities for the year are increased support for the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale program and the Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Clusters and Federal & State Technology Partnership (FAST) programs.

Innovation holds a high place in Biden’s State of the Union address

President Biden delivered his first State of the Union on Tuesday, March 1, and innovation policy was addressed early and often during the speech. Biden gave the most attention to semiconductor manufacturing incentives but also talked about ARPA-Health, college affordability, clean energy technology and supply chains for advanced industries. The message included a specific request that Congress pass one of the SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council’s top priorities.

House committee advances $7 billion regional tech hubs legislation

Earlier this week, the House science committee advanced a series of technology-focused bills, including a $7 billion authorization of regional technology hubs. This legislation completes the committee’s work to produce a companion to the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. The House and Senate legislation are not identical, however, and so the chambers will need to bring their versions into alignment. Among the key differences are that the House authorizes less funding for the program but also creates a new regional clean energy innovation program.

Senate approves new $10 billion program for regional technology hubs

This week, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a legislative package that includes the Endless Frontier Act. The tech-based economic development community should be excited about many initiatives authorized in the bill, including $10 billion for regional technology hubs, $100 billion in new R&D-related activities, and an expansion of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. The bill also provides $50 billion in appropriations for semiconductor research, and includes multiple R&D policy bills. SSTI worked with Sen. Chuck Schumer, the legislation’s lead sponsor, and other Senate offices to strengthen the proposals, The Senate action is just the first step in the legislative process, as the House is beginning to work through its own proposals.

Commentary: American Jobs Plan — Moving Forward

Much of the public policy and governmental spending focus to date regarding COVID recovery has been just that: recovery. The infrastructure proposal, the America Jobs Plan (AJP), President Biden unveiled this week represents his proposal to start moving forward.  In remarks about the proposal, he described it as “not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” a “once-in-a-generation investment” that will lead to “transformational progress.”

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