5/24/2010 3:00:00 PM
The Economic Development Administration (EDA)
at the U.S. Department of Commerce has issued a call for proposals on the “Mapping Regional Innovation Clusters Project.” I am still reading over all the details and thinking about some of its implications, but in seeking proposals in the $1 million/year range for three years of support this should bring out a large and diverse set of applicants.
The short stated intent of the project:
…EDA, pursuant to its Research and Evaluation program, solicits applications for an economic development research project aimed at developing a replicable method for identifying and mapping regional innovation clusters, providing resources on best practices, and providing recommendations on metrics for the evaluation of regional innovation clusters.
For further details: http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do?mode=VIEW&oppId=54670
My comments here will be fairly simple.
- Missed opportunity. It’s a real shame that significant efforts like this aren’t actually better thought out across agencies by groups like the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, or through informal task forces. This effort could be so much the better if it were coming on the tail of a one-year or two-year research effort across U.S. statistical agencies to develop new and relevant regional innovation statistics from the underlying microdata. Instead, whoever wins will be forced to use many of the same fairly worn sets of indicators. So much could be done in this regard at Census and BLS, at a minimum, but it takes effort, time, and some funding. The U.S. statistical agencies are becoming increasingly aware that they need to produce better regional statistics (BEA is really taking the lead hear but only after some rough years).
- Web visuals aren’t so different. Having just gone through my first project in online data visualization with the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, I can say that doing online data visualization is not cheap and online visualizations are only as good as the traditional analysis completed. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like the science behind regional clusters or what is actually important to be measured when looking at regional strengths and weaknesses is specified enough to offer a fully-coherent base of knowledge for visualization.
The solicitation specifically identifies a couple of prior EDA-funded projects which the agency wants to be a component of the new project: