In the April 14, 2000 Issue:
- IT Florida Issues Annual Report
- Recommendations Issued to Promote Digital Government
- National Science Teachers Association Expands Science Initiative with ExxonMobil Grant
- Improvements to National Medal of Technology Sought
- R&D Funding Opportunities
- NIH Offers Two Patents for Licensing
Copyright State Science & Technology Institute 2002. Information in this issue of the SSTI Weekly Digest was prepared under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. Redistribution to all others interested in tech-based economic development is strongly encouraged please cite the State Science & Technology Institute whenever portions are reproduced or redirected. Any opinions expressed in the Digest do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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IT Florida Issues Annual Report
Encouraging venture capital investments, creating R&D tax exemptions, and establishing three new technology-based organizations are just a few of the recommendations included in the first annual report of ITFlorida.com. The 34-member Information Service Technology Development Task Force was created by state legislation last year to assess the health of Florida's information technology industry. The Task Force also was required to recommend policies and legislation that would advance telecommunication networks and information technologies within the state.
Eight subcommittees were formed to explore IT's role in business development and recruitment, K-12 education, workforce development, access and awareness, government, administrative and regulatory laws, civil and criminal laws, and infrastructure and technology development. In the report, a chapter is dedicated to the findings and recommendations of each subcommittee. Few funding specifics, such as amounts, sources or revenue implications, are identified for the recommendations.
The enabling legislation for the task force sunsets in June 2001, however, the group's first recommendation is to privatize ITFlorida.com so it can help guide the implementation of the plan. Additionally, the task force recommends the formation of a Florida Research Alliance to establish new university-industry collaborative research programs and linkages across the state. The progress the state makes toward improving its posture in the New Economy is to be tracked through an annual indicator analysis.
Several tax exemptions and changes are recommended, including: creating a silicon technology tax exemption and an R&D tax exemption, modifying the qualified target industry tax refund program, and repealing the intangibles tax. "IT Empowerment Zones" and technology incubators are proposed as possible tools to attract venture capital investment and business start up incentives. Allowing more risky venture capital investment of public pension funds, already permitted in several states, is suggested as warranting further consideration.
The state is also encouraged to increase spending for workforce development programs and to support a $1.5 milllion e-commerce initiative at the Florida Manufacturing Technology Center, the state's MEP affiliate.
ITFlorida.com recommended that the impact of the Digital Divide within Florida be studied to determine the severity of the problem, and additional measures be taken as necessary. These could include expanding the number of community access centers (such as libraries, schools, YMCA branches, etc), and student computer literacy measurements (on a survey basis only). A separate section discusses the unique challenges of addressing rural IT infrastructure development and use.
Other recommendations address an array of topics ranging from the state's telecommunications backbone network to computers in schools to protecting children from accessing pornography on the Internet.
Copies of the report can be downloaded from the Task Force's web site: http://www.itflorida.com
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Recommendations Issued to Promote Digital Government
Digital Government: The Next Step to Reengineering the Federal Government, a report issued by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), recommends principle and policy changes that the federal government should take to further develop digital government. The report also describes the means that the government can use to integrate information technology into its operations. Most of the findings and recommendations may be useful for state agencies, programs and departments.
The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a national think tank focusing on the development of a new governing philosophy and an agenda geared toward the information age, first addresses the obstacles that block the quick, efficient development of a digital government. These include: lack of political support for digital government, focus on agencies and their needs versus customers and their convenience, and a lack of competitive pressures that force a shift toward a digital economy.
The report profiles 12 principles for implementing successful digital government. These are:
- considering customers first;
- re-inventing, not automating governmental processes;
- setting ambitious goals for the development of digital government;
- investing heavily in digital government to reap savings in the future;
- focusing on digital transactions between government and citizens;
- making government applications interoperable with commercial ones;
- returning savings from electronic transactions to taxpayers;
- promoting open access to information on the internet;
- respecting information privacy rights of citizens;
- maintaining current traditional access to government;
- expanding, not duplicating efforts made by the private sector, and,
- taking digital government development action in the immediate future.
The report also makes four policy recommendations to speed the development of digital government including: creating the position of Chief Information Officer for the federal government; establishing a $500 million Annual Digital Government Fund to invest in cross-agency digital government development projects; allowing agencies flexibility in the use of funds; and expanding the availability of funding for the development of digital governmental applications.
PPI asserts that the development of a digital U.S. economy will provide the federal government with an opportunity to overhaul the way it provides services to citizens and result in increased trust in government and reduced overall costs of government. In order to be completely successful, however, PPI says, Congress and the Administration must make digital government development a high priority.
For more information or to view the complete report, visit http://www.dlcppi.org/texts/tech/digitalgovernment.htm
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National Science Teachers Association Expands Science Initiative with ExxonMobil Grant
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world's largest organization dedicated to the improvement of science teaching, and ExxonMobil Foundation today announced a $3.9 million grant from the Foundation to expand the Building a Presence for Science initiative.
A primary objective of the program is to help science teachers implement state and national science education standards in their schools. A second goal is to create a network through which science teachers can share the latest ideas about effective science teaching.
In partnership with state-based education organizations, NSTA identifies a cadre of educators to serve as Key Leaders in each state. The Key Leaders select, with input from principals, one teacher from each of 25-30 schools in a geographic cluster to serve as a Point of Contact. Each Point of Contact is a conduit to other science-teaching colleagues, bringing to them resources and professional development opportunities that emphasize state and national standards-based science teaching and learning. Teachers and schools adapt the program to fit priorities and needs in their individual states.
The new grant enables ten additional states to participate in Phase II of the program, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. During Phase I, Building a Presence for Science provided professional development and networked science teachers in Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
The grant brings ExxonMobil Foundation's total commitment to more than $6 million in support of the innovative science education program. Begun in 1996, Building a Presence for Science now will be implemented in a total of 23 states and the District of Columbia and will reach more than 36 million students in 73,000 schools.
More information is available at http://www.nsta.org
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Improvements to National Medal of Technology Sought
The Technology Administration (TA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce seeks written comments on the application process used for the National Medal of Technology. The National Medal of Technology is the highest honor bestowed by the President to America's leading innovators. The Medal is given to individuals, teams, or companies for accomplishments in the innovation, development, commercialization, and management of technology, as evidenced by the establishment of new or significantly improved products, processes, or services.
TA invites comments on: (a) whether the method of collection of nominations is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, e.g., the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
All written comments are to be directed to Linda Engelmeier, Departmental Forms Clearance Officer, Department of Comment, Room 5027, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230 or via the Internet (LEngelme@doc.gov).
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R&D Funding Opportunities
Below are several solicitations, request for proposals, and funding announcements released that may be of interest to the S&T community.
Department of Agriculture
The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CREES) has released a Request for Proposals to support projects under the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems Program (IFAFS). In FY 2000, approximately $113,400,000 is available to support proposals from universities, colleges, research foundations maintained by a college or university, or private research organizations with established and demonstrated capacity to perform research or technology transfer. Other parties may serve as subcontractors on a proposed project. Multistate, multi-institutional, or multidisciplinary projects are encouraged, and will be given priority consideration. Matching funds are required only for those projects which are commodity specific and not of national scope.
The funding available in FY 2000 is anticipated to be distributed across five target areas: agricultural genomics and agricultural biotechnology ($32.8 M); food safety, food technologies and human nutrition ($23.6 M); new uses for agricultural products ($9.4 M); natural resource management, including precision agriculture ($28.4 M); farm efficiency and profitability ($18.9 M). CREES retains the right to move funds between priority areas based on the number and quality of proposals received.
Proposals must be transmitted by May 22, 2000. More information is available at:
Department of Energy
The Idaho Operations Office of the Department of Energy seeks proposals for research supporting the Petroleum Industries Vision of the Future. Projects may last up to three years. DOE anticipates making three awards with the $1.9 million available for first-year funding. Subsequent funding will depend on Congressional appropriations to the program. All selected awards must have a minimum 50 percent non-federal cost share over the life of the research project. Collaborations between industry, universities, and national laboratory participants are encouraged. Full proposals are due May 17, 2000. For the solicitation, visit: http://www.id.doe.gov/doeid/PSD/proc-div.html
Department of Interior
In support of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, the US Geological Survey seeks products for earthquake loss reduction and research on earthquake occurrence and effects. Applications may be submitted by educational institutions, private firms, foundations, individuals and agencies of state and local governments. Projects may last two years. All applications are due May 10. Eighty to 90 awards for new projects will be made from $5.3 million anticipated to be appropriated by Congress for FY 2001. The complete solicitation (No. 01HQPA0002) can be downloaded from http://www.usgs.gov/contracts/nehrp/
Department of Justice
The Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics seeks proposals to fund a methodological study to examine how juvenile records can be used to better understand racial disparities in arrests and confinement of minority juveniles and the impact of these disparities on subsequent processing of the same people if and when they become exposed to the adult criminal justice system. The solicitation is open to any researcher with demonstrated statistical expertise in the field. One grant not to exceed $200,000 will be made for a project lasting up to twelve months. For more information, contact Timothy Hart at 202/307-6166.
National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA)
NCIIA will support curriculum development in NCIIA-member colleges and universities teaching invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. The grant program also will fund E-Teams, groups of student inventors working to solve real-work problems with commercializable innovations. NCIIA anticipates making 50 grants of up to $50,000. All awardees must be NCIIA member institutions. The deadline for proposals is May 15, 2000. More information is available on the NCIIA web site: http://www.nciia.org
National Science Foundation (NSF)
The NSF directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering will support new research addressing the under representation of women and minorities in the information technology (IT) workforce. NSF will make 15 to 25 awards ranging from $75,000 to $250,00 per year on projects of up to three years. Proposals will be accepted addressing any one of three broad themes: environment and culture, IT educational continuum, and IT workforce. Eligibility is open to U.S. universities, colleges, for-profit and non-profit organizations, state and local governments and unaffiliated individuals. The deadline is June 22, 2000. More information on this special IT research emphasis (NSF 00-77) can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf0077
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NIH Offers Two Patents for Licensing
The National Institutes of Health have announced the availability of the following two patents for licensing:
"Therapeutic Method to Treat Cancer and Define Cellular Regulatory Processes--Transcription Factor Decoy and Tumor Growth Factor''
Licensing information and a copy of the U.S. patent application referenced above may be obtained by contacting J. R. Dixon, Ph.D., at the Office of Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 325, Rockville, Maryland 20852-3804 (telephone 301/496-7056 ext 206; fax 301/402-0220; E-Mail: jd212g@NIH.GOV). A signed Confidential Disclosure Agreement is required to receive a copy of any patent application.
"Adenovirus Mediated Transfer of Genes"
Licensing information, a copy of the U.S. patent or applications referenced to above, or a copy of the NIH License Application may be obtained by contacting Richard U. Rodriguez, M.B.A., at the Office of Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 325, Rockville, Maryland 20852-3804 (telephone 301/496-7056 ext 287; fax 301/402-0220; and E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). A signed Confidential Disclosure Agreement is required to receive a copy of any patent application.
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