Legacy Costs Threaten Cities and Towns in U.S. Manufacturing Regions

Here at Arch Street we dislike the term “Rust Belt”.

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Rust Belt MapHere at Arch Street we dislike the term “Rust Belt”.

But alas, old terms die hard, just as do preconceptions of what is happening in this region spanning the Northeast and Midwest. Having been engaged in tech-based economic development in the Northeast for over 30 years, we know that this term does not adequately describe the changes occurring in places like Utica, New York or Erie, Pennsylvania.  Regardless, small cities and towns especially are under severe threat due to high legacy costs (pensions, infrastructure) and dwindling population and tax bases.  A recent study by the Manhattan Institute is stark in its assessment:

Rust Belt cities’ legacy cost burden will continue to weigh on them just as much as will their legacy of industrial decline.  Costs associated with both bonded debt and retirement-benefit liabilities will reduce scarce funds available for existing services and future improvements. It is doubtful that Rust Belt…

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U.S. GAO Releases Guide for Designing Technology Assessments

GAO TA HandbookThe U.S. Government Accountability Office’s Technology Assessment Design Handbook [PDF] was released in December, 2019.  It identifies tools and approaches to use in the design of robust and rigorous technology assessments (TAs). The handbook underscores the importance of TA design, outlines the process of designing TAs, and describes approaches for mitigating selected TA design and implementation challenges . While the primary audience of this handbook was GAO staff, other organizations engaged or interested in TAs will find portions of this handbook useful.

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Federal Cybersecurity Research Strategic Plan Released

Federal-Cybersecurity-RD-Strategic-Plan-2019-slideThe 2019 Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan was released by the National Science and Technology Council on December 10, 2019.  The new plan supersedes the 2016 strategic plan and aims to coordinate and guide federally funded R&D in cybersecurity, including development of consensus-based standards and best practices. The 2019 Plan identifies four interrelated defensive capabilities (deter, protect, detect, and respond) and six priority areas for cybersecurity R&D (artificial intelligence, quantum information science, trustworthy distributed digital infrastructure, privacy, secure hardware and software, and education and workforce development) as the focusing structure for Federal cybersecurity R&D activities and investments to benefit the Nation.

Webinar: Federal Strategies to Accelerate Innovation from Lab to Market

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The federal government invests approximately $150 billion each year in R&D conducted at federal laboratories, universities, and other research organizations. For the United States to maintain its position as the global leader in innovation, bring products to market more quickly, grow the economy, and maintain a strong national security innovation base, the President’s Management Agenda includes the Lab-to-Market Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goal to improve the transfer of federally-funded R&D from discoveries in the lab to impact on the marketplace.

The National Academy of Science, Engineering & Medicine (NASEM) Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) will host a webinar on October 24th at 1:00 pm ET to discuss recent actions across the federal government to accelerate innovation from lab to market.  Co-led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), agencies across the Federal government are coordinating to accelerate innovation through five key strategies:

1. Reduce regulatory impediments and administrative barriers in Federal technology transfer policies and practices.
2. Increase engagement with private sector technology development experts and investors.
3. Build a more entrepreneurial R&D workforce.
4. Support innovative tools and services for technology transfer.
5. Improve understanding of global science and technology trends and benchmarks.