policy recommendations

Report finds opportunities for states, locals to advance clean energy innovation

A recent report by Breakthrough Energy, co-chaired by former Energy secretary Ernest Moniz, calls for a better policy approach to supporting clean energy. Their premise is that America has led the way in this industry, but that the way forward requires innovation on a greater scale than we have achieved before, and that this, in turn, requires better coordination of systems.

Ideas for expanding economic opportunity focus of Aspen report

Shifts in the American economy have resulted in a myriad of challenges including workers without the necessary skills for today’s jobs, lack of wage increases for low- and middle-income worker and a shrinking labor force participation rate. With an aim of identifying bipartisan policy solutions to such challenges, the Aspen Economic Strategy Group (AESG) spent a year collecting ideas to address these challenges and have released their findings in a new report. While the authors of the report caution that there is no silver bullet solution to the challenges outlined in the report, they go on to say, “Evidence-based, bipartisan solutions rarely capture headlines, but they do exist, and should be embraced by those who are serious about solving our long-term economic challenges.” The report outlines several proposed solutions.

US Dept. of Ed rethinking higher education

A rulemaking committee, convened by the U.S. Department of Education, has begun work to rethink higher education and is considering ways to refine and streamline the accreditor recognition process and role, while also reviewing regulatory areas affecting innovation in higher education.

NIST recommends improvements for federal tech transfer, seeks comments

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a paper making recommendations to improve federal technology transfer. Recommendations are organized around five topics: regulation and administration, private-sector engagement, R&D workforce, tech transfer tools, and metrics and benchmarks. These recommendations — and the responses they generate — are expected to lead to regulatory and legislative proposals over the course of the next two years.

APLU issues imperatives to improve economic development effectiveness

Recognizing that the global economic and science and engineering landscape is changing rapidly, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) yesterday issued a position paper in an effort to bring together universities and their federal partners and respond to the economic and community development needs of the nation.

Focus on workforce reflected in federal action

In an executive order issued last month, President Trump wrote that the nation is facing a skills crisis. In response, and in order to develop “a national strategy to ensure that America’s students and workers have access to affordable, relevant, and innovative education and job training that will equip them to compete and win in the global economy,” the president established a National Council for the American Worker.

Input sought on plan for advanced manufacturing

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is seeking input from all interested parties on the development of a national strategic plan for advanced manufacturing. OSTP wants to hear ideas on ways to improve government coordination and on long-term guidance for federal programs and activities in support of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, including advanced manufacturing research and development that will create jobs, grow the economy across multiple industrial sectors, strengthen national security, and improve healthcare.

National priorities outlined to improve higher ed outcomes

Asserting that the country’s future competitiveness is linked to a quality education, a recent report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education argues that the completion rate of students pursuing post-secondary education must be increased. The report, The Future of Undergraduate Education, The Future of America, found that while nearly 90 percent of high school graduates expect to enroll in an undergraduate institution at some point, completion rates at those institutions average about 60 percent for students pursuing a bachelor's degree and 30 percent for students pursuing associate's degrees and certificates, with significant disparities within those categories by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. To address the problem, three national priorities are outlined: improving students' educational experience; boosting completion rates and reducing inequities; and controlling costs and ensuring affordability.

Digital skills imperative in changing nature of workforce

Two recent reports detail the changing nature of jobs and highlight the importance of digital skills for the workforce. To guard against a greater income divide and ensure a competitive workforce, the studies — one from Brookings and the other from the McKinsey Global Institute — outline policy prescriptions that may ease the transition.

Pittsburgh at precipice of innovation initiative

Recognizing that the former steel city was at tipping point in its development, Pittsburgh’s city leaders decided to tip the scale toward continued growth. Whether the city is able to rise to the level of a serious global competitor may hinge on the implementation of initiatives that will guide the city in capitalizing on their innovation, research and business assets, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. Pittsburgh leaders received a call to action as a result of a collaborative effort initiated by two city foundations and the Brookings Institution.

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