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Innovation-Speak for Policy Wonks

Members and friends,

Starting with our Israel Mission blog, we have been trying to capture the conditions that make Israeli innovation stand out in quality and quantity. We’re trying to make the argument that many of these conditions already exist in our region, so now we just need to adopt and apply the rest. We already have great university R&D and high retention of human capital in our region. What is needed is guidance and funding from the government in order to catalyze early-stage companies.

Innovation is critically important to get right. In a report published by Brookings Metro,”Commonwealth of Innovation: A Policy Agenda For Revitalizing Pennsylvania’s Economic Dynamism, a similar argument is made, calling for Pennsylvania to focus on creating a set of conditions that will encourage innovation statewide. In just 106 pages…authors Mark Muro, Robert Maxim, and Yang Yu, articulate why innovation matters. And they draw a roadmap for the new governor of PA to enact.

According to the report, innovation rates in science and engineering forecast participation in what Brookings calls “advanced industries” (industries with high levels of R&D spending and STEM workers). In other words, if you want to create sustainable high paying jobs, you have to start by creating the conditions that allow innovation to flourish.

The PICC stands ready to work with Governor Shapiro and his team, as well as all local and statewide stakeholders, partners, and you, our community, to maximize our opportunity as a state. The report clearly states that the growth of commercial clusters depends on the presence of supportive tech ecosystems built out of local intermediaries. That’s us, as well as many regional stakeholders doing the work and ready to do more.

Building that ecosystem and infusing it with Israeli collaborators, products, and practices, has been the work of the PICC for 35 years. And now it seems more timely than ever. We need your support so that we can continue to grow the ecosystem. Please become a member and be part of this work. Our ranking on the innovative state ecosystem is in the twenties, but together, we can become national leaders.

2023 will showcase more events and programming from the PICC than ever before and you could be a part of all that. Please join us as a member.

"In recent decades, an increasing number of economists have concluded that innovation—the creation and adoption of new products, services, and business models—is the key to improved standards of living. That’s because innovation helps workers and firms create new products and processes, which drive resilience and growth."

If you want to read more, here are some policy wonk excerpts from the report that really stood out to us:

  • Pennsylvania needs to unlock its innovation potential, which will require catalytic steps on the part of the state government.

  • Pennsylvania has a rich innovation history…The state’s $4.8 billion higher education and R&D enterprise ranked fourth-largest in the nation in 2020, with a top 10 R&D growth rate and strong patenting…the state has begun to develop a set of nationally competitive innovation clusters, mostly centered in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh…

  • On the other hand, the state’s accumulation of advanced industry jobs has been lagging…overall, Pennsylvania ranked sixth out of nine peer states

  • [Pennsylvania] state government has seemed to lack a clear commitment to innovation and has let its core innovation programs languish

  • The growth of commercial clusters depends on the presence of supportive tech “ecosystems” built out of local intermediaries, investor groups, and entrepreneurship networks

  • Throughout the state, access to the innovation economy is unequal by race and gender

For a roadmap, the authors say that the commonwealth needs to “renew its commitment to innovation as a fundamental driver of high-quality, broad-based prosperity.” They recommend the following:

  • Support a Pennsylvania Innovation Hubs program with challenge grants

  • Leverage parallel federal cluster programs coming out of the CHIPS and Science ACT

  • Expand matching funds for SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Tech Transfer)

  • Insist on inclusion

  • Expand Access to advanced industry careers

  • Make STEM education more equitable

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