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. Each pillar is comprised of variables reflecting a wide range of factors impacting AV readiness, from the availability of electric vehicle charging stations, to AV technology R&D, to the regulatory environment and citizens’ acceptance of the technology. The countries with an overall ranking in the top 10 are:

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.

States’ ability to thrive in new economy measured

While traditional economic development within the states has shifted to an economy more reliant on innovation, many policy discussions remain mired in acknowledging just some of the more recognized tech-based regions, says the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) in its latest report. However, as economic indicators reveal that all states’ economies incorporate some degree of innovation as a driver of their economy, the 2017 State New Economy Index measures states’ capacities to function in this new economy.

SSTI commentary: What is a fair share of R&D? A closer look at benchmarking

Would you expect a community of 100,000 people to have less than one-half as much R&D activity as a community with 250,000 residents? Such a simple question cannot be considered without more information. You may ask which two communities are being compared. Would your answer be different if you learned the smaller community was a college town with a research-intensive university as its core economic engine, while the second community was largely a distribution hub and didn’t have a similar R&D asset?*  Yet politicians, pundits, media and even policymakers often benchmark cities, regions and states on incomplete or irrelevant  information.

Support for Startup Act grows

Support for the recently introduced Startup Act continues to build across the country. The legislation, profiled earlier in the Digest, would accelerate the commercialization of university research, improve the regulatory processes at the federal, state and local levels, and modernize a critical Economic Development Administration (EDA) program to promote innovation and spur economic growth. The legislation also creates both entrepreneur and STEM visas for highly-educated individuals so they can remain in the U.S. legally to help fuel economic growth. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have received support from SSTI and a number of other groups, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and Engine.

States of Innovation 2017: Free tuition moving into more state toolboxes

This week we continue our series on state legislation pertaining to the innovation economy that has been enacted this year around the country. This second installment of the States of Innovation 2017 series deals with free tuition.

A number of states took action to increase the education and skills of their workforce by implementing free or greatly reduced tuition programs at either community colleges or state colleges. The move to increase access to higher education while not new, took up increased urgency this year. With Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee all taking action this past year, Maine and North Carolina were among others considering other options but as of today’s publication not moving the proposals forward.

Union gets House to remove trucks from autonomous vehicle bill

A House bill that would allow manufacturers to sell up to 100,000 self-driving cars each and bar states from restricting their operation passed both its subcommittee and the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously last month. Concerned about potential job loss, unions representing truck drivers successfully lobbied the House to exempt commercial trucks from the “highly automated vehicle” definition the law affects for the time being.

White House indicates FY 2019 budget will again propose deep science, innovation cuts

The White House Office of Management and Budget sent a letter directing all agency heads to prepare FY 2019 budget requests with the figures provided in the administration’s FY 2018 request. Because the long-term budget provided few year-over-year changes for science or innovation, the administration will therefore again propose to eliminate Regional Innovation Strategies, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, much of the SBA’s entrepreneurial development funding and other innovation programs, while also making deep cuts to many R&D initiatives. Read SSTI’s full coverage of the administration’s FY 2018 budget request for more information.

Administration delays International Entrepreneur Rule, plans to rescind

One week before implementation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the International Entrepreneur Rule would be delayed until March 2018 and that a new proposal to rescind the rule will be made. The rule would have provided immigrants who have founded a high-potential startup with equity investment to remain in the country up to five years to scale the company. The National Venture Capital Association took the lead on a letter to the president championing the proposal, which SSTI — joined by 12 member organizations — signed [pdf] with investors, entrepreneurs and organizations from 25 states earlier this year to support the rule. Organizations interested in commenting on the forthcoming proposal to rescind the rule are encouraged to contact SSTI

Committees pass defense authorization bills affecting small business policy

The U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees recently passed their versions of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation includes provisions for federal labs, SBIR and SBA technical assistance programs. These portions of the bills are currently very different between the chambers, and, if passed in their current forms, the final bill could address a wide range of policies affecting small business and innovation.


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