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Apr 19 -- The Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce, invites comments by June 18, 2024 regarding the proposed Regional Technology & Innovation Hubs Data Collection Instrument.

EDA leads the Federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. Guided by the basic principle that sustainable economic development should be driven locally, EDA works directly with communities and regions to help them build the capacity for economic development based on local business conditions and needs. Section 28 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program (15 U.S.C. 3722a) is the legal authority under which EDA awards financial assistance and designee status under the Fiscal Year (FY) 23 Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program (“Tech Hubs”). Under Tech Hubs, EDA seeks to strengthen U.S. economic and national security through place-based investments in regions with the assets, resources, capacity, and potential to become globally competitive, within approximately ten years, in the technologies and industries of the future—and for those industries, companies, and the good jobs they create to start, grow, and remain in the U.S. in order to support the growth and modernization of U.S. manufacturing, improve commercialization of the domestic production of innovative research, and strengthen U.S. economic and national security. Tech Hubs is a two-phase program: in Phase 1, EDA funded Strategy Development grants and designated 31 regions as Tech Hubs. In Phase 2, designated Tech Hubs are eligible to compete for funding for implementation projects.

The purpose of this notice is to seek comments from the public and other Federal agencies on a request for a new information collection for designated Tech Hubs to help ensure that Tech Hub investments are evidence-based, data-driven, and accountable to participants and the public.

Lead consortium members of the 31 designated Tech Hubs will submit identified program metrics and qualitative information to help assess specific program objectives. A one-time questionnaire will be sent to each of the Tech Hubs consortium leads which will gather the relevant data and stories for each of the 31 Tech Hubs designee consortia, resulting in consortia regional impact evaluation, resources, and tools for regional economic development decision-makers. The 31 designated Tech Hubs will provide information on the following objectives:

(1) Accelerating technology innovation, commercialization, demonstration, and deployment, which may include information on the number of patents filed, licensing agreements, approximate levels of research and development expenditures, adoption of new technologies, and acceleration of current technologies.

(2) Enabling infrastructure and advancing manufacturing, which may include information on specific facility information.

(3) Integrating an agile workforce system, which may include information on skills needed by employers, available training, hard-to-fill vacancies, policies and strategies for worker retention, and strategies for engagement with underserved workers.

(4) Increasing business and entrepreneurial capacity, which may include assessing employer competitiveness, relationships with federal, state, and local entities, current partnerships, and information about sources of capital to start and grow businesses and to adopt innovative approaches and technologies.

(5) Strengthening national security, which may include information on procurement processes, critical inputs, sourcing, supply chains, and strategic implications of technologies and their use cases.

Tech Hubs designees must submit this data one time to provide a baseline status of the Tech Hub and to help assess the results of designee status as well as potential future federal investments.

EDA is particularly interested in public comment on how the proposed data collection will support the assessment of job quality, including in ways that rely on pairing this information administrative data for analysis and other ways to minimize burden, or if alternative information should be considered.

Regional Tech Hubs: https://www.eda.gov/funding/programs/regional-technology-and-innovation-hubs
Draft data collection instruments and technical documentation requested by EDA by AEAStat.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-08443

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