research

NSF’s 11 new AI institutes total $220M and expand reach to 40 states

The National Science Foundation has announced the establishment of 11 new NSF National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes, reaching a combined investment of $220 million and including a total of 40 states when adding the original seven institutes announced last year. The institutes are expected to act as connections in a broader nationwide network and will be led by NSF in partnership with the U.S.

Life science industry proves resilient after difficult year

Helping to meet the challenge of fighting a global pandemic while growing high-quality jobs during an economic downturn, the life sciences industry showed its strength over the course of the past year. An update to the biennial Life Science Workforce Trends report from the Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes (CSBI) asserts that it is because of the industry’s skilled-talent base and sets out to assess the industry’s position and priorities in 2021, focusing on its demands for workforce and talent.

Recent Research: Examining effective policies to support high-risk/high-reward research

High-risk/high-reward research can yield breakthroughs, produce new technologies, and allow the surrounding region to remain economically relevant. However, the scientific community remains concerned that research and development-focused policies, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, continue to be conservative with their goals by only encouraging incremental growth that can yield tangible results in shorter amounts of time. These concerns, and potential policy solutions, are explored in a recently published research paper by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Georgia building on research strengths with new initiative

The Georgia Research Alliance has announced a new five-year initiative to fight sickle cell disease that will include creation of a GRA Eminent Scholar chair at the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). The Calvin Smyre GRA Eminent Scholar Chair, named for Rep.

Fintech lending may increase consumers’ financial vulnerability

Contradictory to the prevailing theory that fintech companies — utilizing cutting-edge algorithms and incorporating data beyond the standard credit reports — have better insights into borrower risk profiles than traditional lenders, new research indicates that fintech borrowers are more likely to default on their loans than their counterparts who utilize traditional banks. In their forthcoming article in The Review of Financial Studies, Marco Di Maggio and Vincent Yao find that fintech companies are actually more reliant on “hard information” than traditional banks and typically acquire market share by first lending to higher-risk borrowers and then to safer borrowers. Although their analysis is based entirely on the personal loans market, the research raises another flag, adding to a growing list of fintech issues ripe for regulation.

NIH boosting diversity efforts in review processes

The NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program (HRHR) has the potential to overturn fundamental paradigms, but historically the applicant and awardee pools have not fully represented the demographic and geographic diversity across the U.S. biomedical workforce, says the NIH’s deputy director for extramural research.

NBER research questions value of state business tax incentives

In 2015, state and local business incentives across the nation combined for a total annual cost of roughly $45 billion, according to Timothy Bartik's 2017 report for the Upjohn Institute for Employee Research. New research suggests states and regions trying to attract business through the use of firm-specific tax incentives may want to try another tactic.

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.

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