Call to action: Sign a letter supporting Tech Hubs appropriations

As part of the CHIPS & Science Act, Congress created the Tech Hubs program to help more regions become leaders in key technology sectors through substantial investments into regional consortia. It authorized spending $10 billion on the program from FY2023 through FY2027. But appropriations for the program are not keeping up with the vision that was embraced by strong bipartisan majorities in both chambers. For FY2023, Congress appropriated $500 million for the program, and it followed that up with only $41 million for FY2024. The need for the program has not changed. If you believe the program should receive funding in line with the vision Congress laid out in the CHIPS & Science Act, we invite you to join us and let Congress know by signing a letter that will strongly voice support for the program. Read the full letter and sign on today.

SSTI updates key technology area investment data tool

Last August, SSTI released a data tool exhibiting investment activity across 18 key technology areas. The tool comprises two interactive visuals and a downloadable data file and uses Pitchbook technology verticals selected to align with many of the key technology focus areas defined in the CHIPS and Science Act. The tool breaks down the number of investment-backed companies, investment deals, and amount of capital invested by each state, year (January 1, 2013-December 31, 2023), and investment stage (e.g., seed, angel, venture). SSTI has updated the underlying data through December 31, 2023.

NSF report takes deep dive on perception of S&T, where public learns about science

Americans have a strong level of confidence in scientists and scientific institutions overall, as SSTI reported in a Digest article in December 2023. A new NSF report reviews recent literature about public perceptions, awareness, and information sources for science, and reports strong support for science. However, in their extensive literature review, the authors found evidence of current uncertainty and varying levels of awareness and acceptance of newer technologies, such as AI, robotics, and automotive automation.

NSF releases updated tools for profiling US state trends in science and engineering

NSF recently released updates on two ways of profiling trends in science and engineering at the state level: Science and Engineering State Profiles and Science & Engineering Indicators.

The defense bill contains fewer provisions related to research, technology, and entrepreneurship than initially proposed

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2024, signed in late December, ultimately contained fewer provisions related to research, technology, and entrepreneurship than the draft versions of the legislation initially proposed. Nonetheless, the final bill made some changes that could stabilize some of the department’s innovation activities in recent years and add some flexibility for companies and organizations engaging in technology transfer activities with defense institutions. Specifically, four sections worth noting in the FY 2024 NDAA are the following:

NSF supports four new Science and Technology Centers with $120 Million

Created in 1987, the NSF Science & Technology Centers (STCs) program has supported exceptionally innovative, complex research and education projects that have opened up new areas of science and engineering and developed breakthrough technologies through integrative partnerships. The recent announcement of $120 Million in NSF funding for four new centers will bring the current active center portfolio to 17.

AI giants pledge to ensure the technology’s safety, security, and trustworthiness

Representatives from leading AI companies (Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI) gathered at the White House on July 21 for the announcement of their voluntary commitment to “help move toward safe, secure, and transparent development of AI technology.” According to a White House statement, the companies have made commitments to ensuring products are safe before introducing them to the public, building systems that put security first, and earn the public’s trust.

CHIPS sets vision, strategy for National Semiconductor Technology Center

The vision and strategy for a National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), a key part of the R&D program set out in the CHIPS and Science Act, was released this week by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The paper, A Vision and Strategy for the National Semiconductor Technology Center, describes the center’s mission, core programs, and other features. While the paper refers to it as a center, it is expected to consist of a headquarters facility and an integrated network of NSTC-affiliated technical centers with locations geographically distributed to leverage existing capabilities. It will also start an investment fund that enables future innovations in early-stage companies and will create programs that strengthen and expand the semiconductor workforce. 

Some US investments in other countries under scrutiny

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the International Trade Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce have issued reports considering a program to address national security concerns “arising from outbound investments from the United States into sensitive technologies that could enhance the technological capabilities of countries of concern in ways that threaten U.S. national security.” The reports were required by Congress as part of the most recent appropriations bill and come amid growing concern about China’s technological capacity and if American venture capital funds are helping fuel it.

SSTI outlines ideas for planning, design of EDA Tech Hubs

Expanding U.S. innovation capacity sits at the heart of SSTI’s mission, and it was that driving force that guided our response to the Economic Development Administration’s request for information to inform the planning and design of the regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hubs) program last week. With $10 billion authorized for the program, and $500 million appropriated, the opportunity for growth in the nation demands a thoughtful and actionable plan. SSTI argues that where the country is now has been decades in the making; therefore, a deliberate, well-considered plan providing ample opportunity for regions to both comment on proposed program guidelines and develop local partnerships is needed. In short, EDA should resist the temptation to get the money out the door as fast as possible.


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