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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.

The federal government remains the largest source of academic R&D funding, but its share has dropped from 64 % in FY 2005 to 60 % in FY 2008, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation. The top five universities in federal R&D funding for FY 2008: Johns Hopkins University ($1.68 billion including JHU's Applied Physics Laboratory); University of California, San Francisco ($885 million); University of Wisconsin, Madison ($882 million); University of Michigan, all campuses ($876 million); University of California, Los Angeles ($871 million). The institutions constituting the top five have remained the same since FY 2004.

Industry experts have warned that without strong intellectual property laws, Dubai will never be able to attract companies that will innovate and invest in technology research and development. At a conference organised by Dubai Silicon Oasis during Gitex, speakers said that the emirate has a huge opportunity to attract talent, but it must lay the foundations for that to happen. This includes not just strong intellectual property (IP) laws, but also an understanding of where it wants to sit in the technology eco lifecycle. Japan, it was pointed out, wanted to be at the leading edge of technology and so its investments concentrated on building that market. China, on the other hand, identified the manufacturing base and is now a leader in that field.

 

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According to these two men, it takes more than smarts to be an entrepreneur. You must be able to deal with pressure. They also mention a new book they will be writing together titled, “The Midas Touch”.

While you are here, don’t forget to follow me on twitter to receive the latest updates.

 

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I have always known this, but it has become 100% apparent that so much of success is dependent on the quality of talent that you have leading the ship. Talent is an interesting thing to define: talent isn’t experience, talent isn’t age, talent isn’t about the same skill set (all CEOs, etc.). To me, the best team consists of a strong combination of the following characteristics:

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Noted management consultant Peter Drucker used to say that entrepreneurship is the exclusive province of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs see problems others do not and find novel solutions. Someone close to a particular problem is the most apt entrepreneur, and in community college education the two people closest to the challenges that get in the way of success are faculty members and students.

 

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A new study by the Center for an Urban Future finds that New York City’s leading universities and scientific research centers have not become catalysts for entrepreneurship and local economic development the way similar institutions have in other regions.

The report argues that this is a huge missed opportunity for New York, given the need to diversify the economy and create new engines of job growth. The study details why New York is falling short, showing that university leaders have not done enough to support start-up ventures.

 

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Last summer I attended a talk by Michelle Rhee, the dynamic chancellor of public schools in Washington. Just before the session began, a man came up, introduced himself as Todd Martin and whispered to me that what Rhee was about to speak about — our struggling public schools — was actually a critical, but unspoken, reason for the Great Recession.

There’s something to that. While the subprime mortgage mess involved a huge ethical breakdown on Wall Street, it coincided with an education breakdown on Main Street — precisely when technology and open borders were enabling so many more people to compete with Americans for middle-class jobs.

 

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I started a new blog this week that'll hopefully make my life a bit easier, and might also provide you some useful supplemental info about what's going on in New England's Innovation Economy.

It's called "Read Scott's E-mail: Inside the Innovation Economy Inbox."

Basically, I get way too much interesting e-mail about company launches, product debuts, fundings, executive comings-and-goings, and conferences to ever blog about here, or write about in my column. For much of this stuff, there isn't much that I'd really want to add: if there's a cool event happening, you may just want to know where it is and how much it costs, without any commentary from me. If a company gets $10 million in VC funding, often that's just worthy of noting, without my interviewing the CEO about how great it is that investors have coughed up $10 mil to support his idea.

 

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Since 1976, AAAS has published a comprehensive annual analysis of R&D in the president's proposed federal budget, making timely and objective information available to the science and engineering communities and to policy makers. AAAS Report XXXIV: Research & Development FY 2010 includes the political context of budget proposals; analysis of major funding trends; analysis of funding for research by theme, major agency, and discipline; and nearly 40 tables. The full text of the 273-page report from the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program is available online in PDF format and hard copies may be ordered.

AAAS Releases Report on US R&D Budget for FY 2010

Sovereign wealth funds will be invited to invest alongside the government in a £1bn vehicle to finance venture capital funds as part of broader "strategic partnerships" with the UK technology industry, according to Lord Drayson, science minister.

Fresh from visiting investors in the US and Europe, Lord Drayson has found "encouraging" feedback on the new fund of funds, announced by the government in June to aid the ailing venture capital industry. He is confident of turning the UK's initial £150m contribution into a £1bn fund - the biggest of its kind in Europe.

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Marc Gunther: This is Marc Gunther. I'm at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York -- that's near Albany -- and I'm joined by Kevin Skillern. Kevin is Managing Director of Venture Capital for GE Energy Financial Services -- that's a unit of GE Capital. He overseas GE's Venture Capital Portfolio in Cleantech companies.

Kevin, tell me just as we get started, why is GE in the Venture Capital business and talk a little bit about your portfolio in general terms before we talk about a couple of the specific companies.

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