white house

Federal Agencies Instructed to Prioritize Tech Transfer Collaboration in FY16 Budget

Recent memoranda issued by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology policy include the support of lab-to-market technology commercialization as a key pillar of cross-agency spending for the upcoming fiscal year.  The White House instructs agencies to explain how resources are being redirected from low priority efforts to multi-agency collaborations in specific fields, including advanced manufacturing, clean energy, earth observation, global climate change, information technology, life sciences, homeland security and research policy-making. The memos encourage the expansion of efforts to boost the economic impact of federally funded research. Read the memos…

OSTP Invites Public Comments for Update to Strategy for American Innovation

The Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a public comment period that will assist in the development of an upcoming update of the Strategy for American Innovation. Via a notice of Request for Information (RFI), individuals and organizations have the opportunity to provide input on one or more of nine topic areas:

White House Announces $10 Billion Fund for Rural Development

The White House Rural Council has launched a $10 billion rural economic development fund. This launch was announced last Thursday at the Rural Opportunity Investment Conference held in Washington D.C. CoBank, a Denver-based national cooperative bank, serves as the anchor investor of the fund that will be managed by Capitol Peak Asset Management. Capitol will also recruit additional institutional investors to the fund including pension funds, endowments, and foundations that are interested in investing in rural areas.

President Obama Signs Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22 – a federal-wide reform effort designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. WIOA is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system. It will take effect July 1, 2015 – key implementation dates for Department of Labor. It supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. Highlights of the new act:

White House Enlists Makers, Cities to Spur National Manufacturing Economy

This week, the White House hosted its first Maker Faire where President Obama announced a number of new public-private collaborative efforts to spur U.S. manufacturing entrepreneurship. In order to capitalize on the recent spike in manufacturing entrepreneurship, the administration is enlisting more than 90 mayors and local leaders to make new spaces available for manufacturing and prototyping. The White House also plans to make it easier for entrepreneurs to access federally owned equipment for research and production, expand federal agency support for smaller manufacturers and invest $150 million in advanced materials research.

Natural Gas Driving Sharp Rise in American Competitiveness

American manufacturing competitiveness is on the rise, according to a study issued by the Boston Consulting Group and touted by the White House. Only seven of the 25 largest exporting countries in the world have lower manufacturing costs than the United States. The primary gain in U.S. advantage has come from access to cheap domestic supplies of natural gas. Wholesale prices for natural gas have dropped by over 50 percent since 2005 and are expected to decline for at least the next five years. The dropping prices create a significant cost advantage for U.S. manufacturers that have ripple effects through the entire manufacturing value chain. Other contributing factors to rising U.S. competitiveness include lower labor costs than other developed countries, rising domestic productivity, and rising labor costs in the developing world. Global companies are taking note of the systemic advantages that are driving the revival of American manufacturing and are making long-term investments in the U.S., according to the study. Read the study...

Federal, State Workforce Initiatives Emphasize Higher Ed, Employer Involvement

Aligning industry needs with workforce training has gained renewed focus in states and emerged as a national priority. This week, President Obama announced two grant programs totaling $600 million in existing funds that challenge academic institutions and businesses to design job training for the globalized economy and set industry-recognized standards.

OSTP Estimates STEM Spending in Proposed FY15 Budget Totals $2.9B

A progress report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) provides a useful overview of the Obama administration’s ongoing STEM efforts and the roster of STEM initiatives included in the president’s FY15 budget request. Under the proposed budget, federal spending on STEM education would reach $2.9 billion in FY15, a 3.7 percent increase over FY14 funding as enacted. The largest agency increases would come from the Department of Education, which would receive $658 million (35.7 percent increase) with support for a new STEM Innovation Networks program, and the Department of Transportation, which would receive $100 million with funding for a University Transportation Centers Program (16.3 percent increase).  Read the report…

White House Opens Climate Data, Launches Innovation Challenges

In his FY15 budget, President Obama proposed a sweeping, multi-agency push for new research and improved infrastructure to combat the effects of global climate change. The largest piece of the president’s climate effort is a $1 billion Climate Resistance Fund, intended to fund climate-change preparedness at the federal, state and local level. Though the budget has not found much support in Congress, the administration has begun moving forward with other parts of the climate strategy, launching a Climate Data Initiative to make potentially valuable climate data available to entrepreneurs developing climate-related products.

Presidential Executive Actions Target Patent Trolls, Offer Assistance to Innovators

In keeping with the commitment made in his State of the Union address to reform the American patent system, President Obama announced a series of executive actions to improve the quality and accessibility of the patenting process. White House officials also reiterated the call for more sweeping changes to the system from Congress and provided an update on the previous series of executive orders related to intellectual property issued in June of last year. At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering two cases that could have major ramifications for patenting in high-tech industries.


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