Cap to Cap Advocacy Trip – Innovation Spotlighted


by Rob White

Over the last several days of the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s annual Capital-to-Capital (Cap to Cap) Advocacy Trip, Innovation has been highlighted over and over again. Not just by the work of the Innovation Team (which has grown to 13 team members in just its second year), but by the continuous discussions happening at all levels and forums.

Some quick examples of this include: Innovation (specifically funding for basic and applied research) became one of four Priority Policies for the Chamber and has resulted in being included in several meetings that are reserved for the leadership only. These include meetings with Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Representatives Garamendi, Matsui, Bera, and LaMalfa, McClintock, McCarthy and McNerney. These meetings are directly with the elected officials and not just staff, as happens with many of the other meetings during the week.

Some of the proof points and examples of the Davis and Sacramento Region innovation ecosystem that have been shared with the elected officials include:

·       Marrone Bio Innovations – $57 million Initial Public Offering in late 2013

a.    Davis-based company

b.    Pam Marrone is a serial entrepreneur who was previously part of AgraQuest

·       Bayer Crop Science – $425 million acquisition of AgraQuest

a.    Subsequent expansion of operations in Region (Davis – W Sac)

b.    Footprint increased nearly 3-fold

·       Asian R/D investments are increasing relative to the US

a.    As of 2010, were poised to overtake the US

·       US R/D investments focused on development

a.    Outpacing basic/applied by orders of magnitude

·       Basic & applied research needs to increase as share of R/D funding

a.    US investing a lot in innovations that have already occurred

b.    Basic & applied research needed to ensure a pipeline of new innovations that can be developed

c.     Basic and applied lead to new small start-ups

d.    Critical component of our regional strategy

e.    Fostering entrepreneurs that we nurture – through further investment into larger companies

Some graphs that help to illustrate these items:




In addition to Innovation being a Priority Policy, the Innovation Team had a meeting today with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and White House Business Council. They shared several important announcements (some happening literally as the team was meeting with the White House) on programs and policy that will be helpful to our efforts in Davis and the region. These included:

There has been an update to the policy on H-4 Visas and here is the press release from Department of Homeland Security that was posted today – here

A recent study on the costs of inaction on Immigration Reform – here

The National Climate Assessment (released hours ago) and The President’s Climate action – here and here

The White House supports makerspaces and is holding a Maker Faire – here

And if you would like to get up to date info as it becomes available, the White House OSTP encourages that we follow their Twitter Feed –

Tomorrow will be the last day of meetings for the entire delegation. And Innovation will continue to be part of the discussion, putting Davis and UC Davis right in the middle of the dialogue. We are grateful to be given such a privileged opportunity to speak about the amazing things happening in Davis and the Sacramento Region and I look forward to the follow-up as we continue to create and invent – socially, financially and environmentally.

I apologize that I have been unable to monitor posts to answer questions, but I will attempt to log on in the next day or so to see what I can do to answer and questions. You can also follow the Davis efforts on Twitter at hashtag #InnovateDavis and my twitter account of @mrobertwhite or the entire delegation at hashtag #Cap2Cap14 and twitter account @Metro_Chamber.

About The Author

Rob White is the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Davis and was selected as a 2012 White House Champion of Change for Local Innovation. He serves as an ex-officio Board Member for techDAVIS (a local tech entrepreneur industry group), as an executive Board Member for the Innovate North State iHub, and as a Board Member for Hacker Lab and the California Network for Manufacturing Innovation. He is a candidate for the Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California and has a Masters from USC in Planning and Development and a Bachelors of Science in Geology from Chico State.

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