policy recommendations

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.

US opinion of manufacturing more favorable

In its latest survey of U.S. public perception of manufacturing, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that the majority of Americans surveyed (roughly 8 in 10) view manufacturing as vital to maintaining economic prosperity in the country, but less than 5 in 10 find those jobs interesting or secure, and less than 3 in 10 would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career. However, respondents also said they believe future manufacturing jobs will require high-tech skills, be clean, safe and more innovative. That opportunity to build on the positive perceptions already present and dispelling the myths surrounding manufacturing jobs are explored in A look ahead; How modern manufacturers can create positive perceptions with the US public. The authors note that with such findings, “manufacturers could benefit from uplifting current perceptions and tapping into the future vision in order to help attract talent, both young and old, to the industry.”

SSTI submits letter to CDFI Fund on equity certification

In response to a request for information, SSTI submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund about the certification process and standards for community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Just 1.4 percent of all CDFIs and 0.2 percent of total assets are registered by the CDFI Fund as “venture capital,” which is concerning given the importance of equity for many startups.

Top Stories from 2016 and a Preview of 2017

This week, we take a look at the top SSTI Weekly Digest stories from 2016 and give you an idea of what to look for in the coming months.

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