In the April 2, 2008 Issue:
- NSF Finds S&E Unemployment Rate Dipped to 2.5 percent in 2006
- State STEM Education Rankings
- Mayor Proposes City Funded College Scholarships as Economic Development Tool
- Recent Research: Open Innovation: What We Know, What We Don’t
- Secret Unveiled on How to Win an SSTI Excellence in TBED Award
- People & TBED Organizations
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NSF Finds S&E Unemployment Rate Dipped to 2.5 percent in 2006
Regional and industry cries of a highly skilled worker shortage, particularly for scientists and engineers appear well grounded based on a recent InfoBrief from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Foundation reports in 2006, the unemployment rate for scientists and engineers in the U.S. fell to 2.5 percent. Decreasing from 3.2 percent in 2003, the figure is the lowest unemployment rate measured since the early 1990s using the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System, NSF reports.
The findings are quite sobering when paired with this week’s release of the widely covered report by America’s Promise Alliance that reveals more than 1.1 million children in the U.S. drop out of high school each year.
NSF defines scientists and engineers as including people who have received a bachelor’s degree or higher in S&E or S&E-related academic fields and people without an S&E degree working in S&E or S&E-related occupations. Unemployment for the U.S. labor market as a whole was 4.7 percent in 2006, about 2.2 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate for scientists and engineers in that year.
Looking deeper at backgrounds of all scientists and engineers in the labor force, irrespective of their level of degree attainment (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) further separated by their degree subject field (e.g., physical sciences, social sciences, engineering), unemployment rates lowered from 2003 to 2006 – the only exception being a rise in unemployment for those working in science and engineering whose highest level of attainment was a bachelor’s degree in a non-S&E field. Looking deeper at the major S&E occupation groups, all experienced decreased unemployment rates except for social scientists, where unemployment rose for many of its subcategories from 2003 to 2006. For example, political scientists' unemployment rate jumped from 1.7 percent to 5.7 percent - an increase of 4 percentage points.
In 2006, there were 18.9 million scientists and engineers actively employed in the U.S., including 10.2 million employed in S&E and S&E-related occupations and 8.7 million working in non-S&E occupations. The percentage of scientists and engineers not participating in the workforce remained constant from 2003 to 2006, even though the S&E labor force increased by about 800,000 in this period.
The InfoBrief also contains demographic profiles for scientists and engineers in the U.S. Of the 22.6 million scientists and engineers in 2006, 45 percent were women, it notes. However, women represented 56.4 percent of all scientists and engineers under the age of 30. About 95 percent of scientists and engineers in the U.S. were U.S. citizens.
The median annual salary for those NSF defined as scientists and engineers was $72,000 if they were employed in an S&E field, $60,000 if employed in an S&E-related field and $50,000 if employed in a non-S&E occupation. For employees working in the S&E field, those with a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of degree attainment had a median annual salary of $70,000. Comparatively, those with at least a master’s degree made a median salary of $77,000 and those with at a doctorate made $78,000.
NSF’s Infobrief on employment and demographic data for U.S scientists and engineers can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08305/?govDel=USNSF_141
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State STEM Education Rankings
This week's issue of Southern Compass, the electronic newsletter published by the Southern Growth Policies Board, suggested its readers check out the March 27, 2008, edition of Education Week, which is dedicated to examining what states are doing to improve science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM). STEM education is considered one of the highest priorities by many groups for the U.S. to maintain its global leadership in innovation and competitiveness.
The online Education Week is dedicated to the Technology Counts report, which looks at the states' STEM progress in the three areas of student access to technology, use of technology in student education, and institutional and teacher capacity to use technology. A joint project of Education Week and the Editorial Projects of the Educational Research Center, Technology Counts 2008 is the 11th annual assessment conducted to benchmark states against each other and the national average on 14 indicators, such as test scores, standards and policy inputs toward improving STEM education.
While Technology Counts 2008 marks significant progress in several areas nationally - such as the number of states requiring at least three years of math or science before awarding a high school diploma (which has grown to 38 and 35 states, respectively) - the individual grades states received reflect the challenges still ahead. Only the District of Columbia, Iowa and Mississippi have not prepared technology standards either as stand-alone documents or as integrated elements of the English, math, science or history curricula.
The report's grading of states may remind Digest readers of some of their tougher high school teachers: Only three states - West Virginia, Georgia and South Dakota received an overall grade of A or A- (90 points or higher on a 100 point scale). On the other hand, while none of the states were found failing, seven received overall marks of D+, D or D-: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. Because of changes to the measures, comparison to the grades of previous years is discouraged, Education Week advises.
Grading is based on both quantitative and qualitative measures. The four Access indicators included: percent of students with access to computers in fourth grade, percent with access in eighth grade, number of students per instructional computer and number of students per high speed Internet-connected computer. Use and capacity measures were based on the presence of policies and standards the Education Research Center deemed important for improving STEM education, such as whether or not a state had a virtual school, if it offered computer-based assessments, or whether or not a state required teachers to pass technology requirements at hiring and recertification points.
In addition to the detailed state reports, interactive maps and tables charting scores and trends, Technology Counts includes articles profiling examples of successful STEM initiatives and some of the challenges measuring the impact of federal initiatives to improve STEM. Technology Counts 2008 is available at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2008/03/27/index.html
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Mayor Proposes City Funded College Scholarships as Economic Development Tool
Lexington, Ky., Mayor Jim Newberry announced last week a college scholarship plan targeting students pursing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields as a means to transform the local economy into a globally competitive community by investing in the city’s youth.
The proposed Lexington First Fund would provide full tuition to every Fayette County high school graduate for up to four years at any institution of higher education located within an hour’s drive of Lexington. The only requirement is that students must pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in a STEM field or a teaching degree in one of these fields. The idea is that by encouraging residents to pursue STEM fields, the local economy will reap the benefits of a highly skilled workforce. The plan also aims to promote attendance at local institutes of higher education and attract high-tech industries to the city.
Mayor Newberry hopes to produce the same impact that has already emerged in Michigan from a program still in its infancy, the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship. Beginning with the class of 2006, students enrolled in the Kalamazoo public school system from kindergarten through high school were eligible for four years of tuition and fees at any Michigan public college or university – regardless of their field of study. A report by the Community Foundations of America found that in the first 14 months of the program, enrollment in local high schools increased by 10 percent, 300 small businesses relocated to Kalamazoo, the value of homes increased by 7 percent, and 45 new teaching positions were created.
Since it was unveiled in 2005, the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program has received widespread media coverage and has prompted several studies into the short- and long-term outcomes. The W.E. Upjohn Institute has been involved in research, evaluation and community mobilization efforts since the program’s inception, and a book is due later this year on the origins and initial impact of the program, including alignment of the community around its goals.
The major difference in the two programs, however, is that Mayor Newberry wants taxpayer money to fund the Lexington scholarships, and in Michigan, the program is entirely funded by a group of anonymous donors. A major part of the mayor’s campaign platform, the Lexington First Fund, is expected to be included in the new budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The plan has received a tepid reception from some Urban County Council members, who must approve the plan, according to an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader. Members of the council questioned using city money to start a new program while facing a projected budget shortfall of $25 million to $30 million, the article states.
While it is undetermined at this point how much the program will cost the city, Mayor Newberry’s plan calls for support by both public and private contributions and requires recipients to seek available financial aid to reduce the scholarship amount. Similar to the Kalamazoo Promise, the Lexington First Fund would offer 100 percent tuition to students who have attended school in the county from kindergarten through 12th grade and provide up to 40 percent for those who have attended at least four years of high school.
A fact sheet with more information on the Lexington First Fund is available at: http://media.kentucky.com/smedia/2008/03/25/18/LexingtonFirstFundFacts.source.prod_affiliate.79.pdf
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Open Innovation: What We Know, What We Don’t
A growing number of academic researchers and TBED practitioners are taking interest in the emerging subject of open innovation. Like all new concepts and business practices, open innovation is not well understood by broader audiences and under-researched in the academic community. Tobias Fredberg, Maria Elmquist and Susanne Ollila from Chamlers University of Technology in Sweden attempt to address both needs in a recent paper, Managing Open Innovation – Present Findings and Future Directions.
Their review of the subject involved two tasks, the first being the synthesis of literature dating from when open innovation was coined in 2003 to when they performed their search in November 2007. They identified four books, 35 journal articles and 10 book reviews explicitly using the term “open innovation.” The second task was the collection of opinions from nine key researchers to define the current frontier of open innovation research.
But first, what is open innovation?
Like many topics in emerging fields, the exact definition of open innovation is still being debated. The term’s roots can be found in the concepts of open source software development, where strategies to find novel ways for writing code and enhancing software products were increasingly being performed outside of the traditional boundaries of an in-house R&D staff. In an environment with a rapidly changing marketplace and increasingly mobile human and financial capital such as the software industry, companies sought new ideas from outside sources, often at different stages of their product development. Open innovation can be used to classify the activities of any firm as they use both internal and external resources, such as knowledge and capital, to commercialize products.
With the complexities of balancing intellectual property management and the size and structure of research divisions, companies are looking outside of the boundaries of the firm for efficiency and value. An example of a specific corporate strategy often found in discussions of open innovation is Proctor & Gamble’s “Connect + Develop” strategy, by which P&G is shifting the source of innovation for new products from their internal research department and traditional suppliers to outside innovators. P&G’s website reports more than 40 percent of their products now have a component of external collaboration. In the literature, the reach of open innovation and its ability to dissolve boundaries is extending beyond the firm level to also describe networks, industries, and even regional innovation systems.
The authors separate the literature examining the facets of open innovation into seven themes:
- The notion and principles of open innovation;
- The exploration of business models;
- Organizational design and firm boundaries;
- Leadership and culture in open innovation;
- Tools and technologies to push open innovation;
- IP and patenting issues; and,
- Industrial dynamics and manufacturing processes.
Combining their literature review with the interviews of research experts, the authors outline two main areas for future investigation in open innovation: human aspects and organizational aspects. The human side of future research could explore the kinds of leadership skills and sensibilities needed to manage open innovation, the aspects of teamwork within collocated and distributed groups of people, and finally, the motivation of individuals to take an open innovation approach to solving problems. Organizational issues for future research would consider structures that facilitate open innovation, the ability of companies to adapt to exploring open innovation, and the mechanical process of implementing open innovation techniques. The paper contends much of the existing research is based upon case studies and future work needs to concentrate on more theoretical development.
A question to leave practitioners reading this story is: If the model of open innovation is rapidly spreading to new industries, moving way beyond software development, how should TBED organizations react to the shift, and what tools can they leverage to assist firm growth and commercialization?
Managing Open Innovation – Present Findings and Future Directions contains a list of the existing academic literature on open innovation up until November 2007 and can be found at:
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Secret Unveiled on How to Win an SSTI Excellence in TBED Award
The secret is out – and it’s fairly simple. All you need is an outstanding TBED initiative with proven success that stands out among the crowd.
SSTI often receives news and updates on programs that are improving our nation’s competitiveness through science, technology and innovation. Now, we are calling upon the TBED community to share these success stories – and we’ll reward you for your efforts. All you have to do is put it in writing, and we promise it will be well worth your time. As an award winner, you will:
- Receive accolades and honors on SSTI's website and in the SSTI Weekly Digest;
- Bask in the glory of being a featured presenter during SSTI’s annual conference in Cleveland, Oct. 15-16, 2008; and,
- Take home an elegant vase embossed with your organization’s name – more a work of art than a trophy!
Send us your story by May 16!
Download the 2008 awards brochure and application form at: http://www.ssti.org/awards.htm
To learn more about the 2007 Excellence in TBED Award winners, please visit: http://www.ssti.org/Awards/07winners.htm
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People & TBED Organizations
The Beaver County (Pa.) CO-OP announced it will change its name to StartingGate. The incubator will continue to assist entrepreneurs and new business start-ups and help expand existing businesses.
Joe Dedman was chosen as the first executive director of the Southeast Indiana WIRED.
Brian DuBoff was named the director of Maryland's southern region Small Business Development Center, which is hosted by the College of Southern Maryland.
Barbara Goodman has joined the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization as its executive director.
Mark Long has stepped down as the CEO of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.
Robert McMahan Jr., the North Carolina governor's senior adviser for science and technology and executive director of the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, has left those posts to become dean of Western Carolina University's Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.
The Oklahoma Bioscience Association announced its launch.
Tracey van Niekerk has been selected as the new life sciences coordinator for the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, Indiana. Van Niekerk replaces Leslie Ducey, who left the organization in February.
David Winwood stepped down as associate vice chancellor for technology development and innovation at North Carolina State University to become CEO of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Research Foundation.
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