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Innovation and

EDA Issues Final Rule Applicable to the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program
January 11, 2017

On January 11, 2017, EDA issued a final rule applicable to the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. Launched in 2014, EDA through its RIS Program, awards grants for capacity-building programs that provide proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs and for operational support to organizations that provide essential early-stage funding to startup companies. Since inception, EDA has invested approximately $40 million dollars and awarded 98 grants to increase the economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life of communities across the country. A copy of the final rule can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/11/2017-00116/regional-innovation-program.

The new regulations are the first for this Program and establish the framework and structure of the RIS Program, including its mission and objectives, applicant eligibility requirements, allowable investment rates, eligible project activities, and required application components. These regulations provide enhanced customer service to the RIS Program while mitigating the administrative burden on EDA’s constituents. On September 21, 2016, EDA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register and sought public comments during a 60-day time period, which closed on November 21, 2016. A copy of the NPRM, which includes a detailed legislative and programmatic history of the RIS Program, and its parent Program (the Regional Innovation Program), can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/09/21/2016-22286/regional-innovation-program.

NOTE NEW EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE: The effective date of the RIS Program final rule has been delayed until March 21, 2017. This delay is in accordance with the January 20, 2017 Memorandum from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” that required temporary postponement of rules that had been published in the Federal Register but have not yet taken effect, for 60 days from the date of the Memorandum for the purpose of reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy. Notice of the RIS Program final rule delay can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/31/2017-02010/regional-innovation-program.