research

Declining innovation funding threatens future economy

Two recent reports highlight the importance of funding innovation in the U.S., and give a glimpse into the perils of ignoring it. The reports, from The Aspen Institute and Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), independently corroborate the role of the public sector in ensuring a more prosperous future through innovation.

Latest White House science memo downplays tech transfer

Each year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) produces a memo to direct the administration’s R&D priorities. The office recently released its first such directive under its new director, Kelvin Droegemeier, who was appointed to the position under President Donald Trump. As described by Science, this year’s description of priority research areas “hews closely” to the administration’s prior directives. The section addressing actions to affect federal R&D, however, places less emphasis on technology transfer than in other statements by this administration. 

Despite economic expansion, states suffer lingering effects of recession

An issue brief this month from the Pew Research Center asserts that despite the current national economic expansion still underway, states are still coping with lasting effects of the 18-month recession that ended in 2009. Calling it a “lost decade,” the authors found that although budget pressures have eased in several ways, states still have not fully restored cuts in funding for infrastructure, public schools and universities, the number of state workers, and support for local governments.

Science & Innovation policy research hub seeking content; EDQ call for papers on rural economic development

The Fung Institute at the University of California Berkeley, with funding support from the National Science Foundation, has established a website to serve as a centralized hub for finding research papers, analyses, and case studies on science and innovation policy. Papers to be included may develop models, analytical tools, data, and metrics to enable science and innovation policymakers and TBED practitioners to improve the impacts derived from public investments and policy interventions. 

Americans vision of the future bleak; science holds hope

A smattering of recent opinion polls and research papers looking to the future have revealed some grim perceptions about the economy and environment, but a more positive opinion of the role for science and technology (S&T) emerges.

Canada transitioning university-industry R&D support

University-based centers to support collaborative research with industry have been a mainstay of federal competitiveness policies for decades.  Government commitments of multiyear, multimillion dollar funding are thought to provide lab/institutional stability and industry confidence for engagement in longer-term joint research projects.

Rhode Island announces $12 million for Innovation Campus projects

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced the first three projects for the state’s Innovation Campus Program, an effort to support the commercialization of academic research in key industries such as cybersecurity, data analytics and agricultural technology. The centers, in partnership with the University of Rhode Island and located in Kingston and Providence, will receive a combined $12 million from the state. The funding stems from a $20 million innovation bond approved by the state’s voters in 2016.

How public policy supports advanced manufacturing

For those interested in how innovation, investment, programs, and policies can help make manufacturing an economic boon to states and regions across the nation, a new special issue of the Economic Development Quarterly may offer some answers. Featuring original research and book reviews from experts around the country, Strengthening Manufacturing – How Research Can Inform Public Policy is an important read for scholars and practitioners of economic development. The introduction to the special issue, written by Ken Poole and Brendan Buff of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC), is available online at no cost. A future Digest story will highlight some of the articles featured in the issue and discuss what their findings mean for technology-based economic development more broadly.

Balancing STEM training and retraining needs

As the National Science Foundation announces awards for five new regional academic centers to encourage underrepresented populations to pursue and attain college degrees related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a recent working paper from two Harvard researchers finds an explanation for the popularly perceived persistent shortage of STEM workers: changes in technology.  The rapid pace of technological change is making the skills of the existing STEM workfor

Pew survey reveals strong support for government investing in research

A new Pew Research Center survey shows strong support among Americans for government investments in medical research, engineering and technology, and basic scientific research, echoing previous reports from 2014 and 2009. That support crosses political parties, although liberal Democrats show a greater percentage of support (92 percent) compared to conservative Republicans (61 percent).

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