The IPL newsletter: Volume 20, Issue 400

News from the IPL


Innovation Policy Lab’s Dan Breznitz Named Co-Director of CIFAR’s Innovation, Equity & the Future of Prosperity Project

The Innovation Policy Lab’s Dan Breznitz, has been named as Co-Director of CIFAR’s new research program on Innovation, Equity, & the Future of Prosperity that will examine how innovation policies affect the distribution of opportunities and outcomes in society.

6th Annual Creating Digital Opportunity Partnership Meeting

Since 2014, The CDO Partnership, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, with matching support from its’ business, government and university partners has conducted an extensive research project to understand the evolving digital technologies critical to Canada’s future economic growth and prosperity. The CDO Partnership has the goal of situating Canada’s digital opportunity in a global context and encourage policymakers to adopt policies and programs to support the growth of Canada’s digital firms and to strengthen Canada’s competitiveness in the ever expanding digital economy. The partnership’s final conference will take place April 29 – May 1 at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto and will feature presentations from partnership members summarizing the key findings of the project and their implications for the broader policy agenda in Canada. Registration is open to non-members.

Editor's Pick

University-Industry Collaboration: New Evidence and Policy Options

OECD Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP)
The increasing importance of knowledge-based capital for competitiveness and to address socio-economic challenges benefits those countries with strong public research and the ability to effectively use research findings to innovate. In this context, it becomes ever more important to understand how public investments in research can generate the largest impacts on innovation. This report provides new evidence on the impacts of public research on innovation performance and explores the policy tools implemented across OECD countries to support science-industry knowledge transfer.

Innovation Policy

Is China Catching up to the United States in Innovation? 

Robert D. Atkinson and Caleb Foote, ITIF
One of the most important economic questions facing advanced nations is, how innovative is the Chinese economy? For those in the “China cannot innovate, they can only copy” camp, Europe, Japan, and the United States should stop worrying about issues such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and massive subsidies to Chinese technology companies because China is not an innovation challenger. For those in the “China is rapidly following the path nations such as Japan and South Korea took to become global innovation leaders” camp, advanced economies need to raise their game, including stepping up efforts to roll back Chinese innovation mercantilism. This report briefly highlights Chinese government goals and policies to become a world innovation leader. It then reviews the claims skeptics make about China’s ability to innovate—arguing that, for the most part, their definition of the term “innovation” is too narrow—and reviews arguments and evidence supporting the claim that China is successfully innovating. Finally, the report presents the 36 indicators.

The Future of Work in Government: Navigating a Shifting Talent Landscape

William D. Eggers, John O’Leary, and Amrita Datar, Deloitte
One hundred years ago, employees were largely viewed as interchangeable cogs in a machine. One assembly line worker was about as productive as the next. The difference between an outstanding toll collector and a mediocre one wasn’t terribly consequential. But in the digital age, creative and collaborative talents are integral to delivering value. An employee motivated to learn and grow can be much more valuable than a less interested coworker. While the private sector is increasingly recognizing this trend the public sector is lagging behind. While much of the private sector has transformed over the past two decades, the public sector, for the most part, has not. Most public sector organizations are still locked into decades-old workforce policies, such as rigid job classifications, lockstep pay, and reliance on seniority as a substitute for capability. The reality is, government agencies are increasingly called upon to address society’s most complex challenges using workforce approaches rooted in the distant past. This not only makes it harder to recruit talented people but also makes it more difficult for public sector managers to provide their employees with great work experiences.

Promoting European Growth, Productivity, and Competitiveness by Taking Advantage of the Next Digital Technology Wave

Robert D. Atkinson and Stephen Ezell, ITIF
A new suite of digital technologies is reshaping advanced economies and promising increased rates of innovation, productivity, and economic growth, along with improvements in quality of life. However, the EU will not gain the full benefits of this next innovation wave without the right policies. This report begins by discussing the emerging digital technology transformation, what is required for success, and where Europe stands vis-à-vis progress on digital development and adoption. It then compares Europe with China, Japan, and the United States in terms of indicators of both digital economy development and adoption as well as key policies and factors related to digital economy success. It then lays out six key strategic issues for the EU as it seeks competitive advantage and growth from the next technology wave. Finally, the report presents a series of policy recommendations for the EU, organized into five sections: regulatory framework conditions, trade policy, resources for firms (including data, R&D, skills and digital infrastructure), technology/sector/firm policies, and culture and institutions.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

State, Local Governments Work to Steer Opportunity Zones Investment

Michael Nogodradac
Opportunity zones (OZs) are a federal tax incentive that has generated unprecedented levels of interest among investors and have enormous potential local and regional impact. States and municipalities realize the potential power of OZs, which is why there has been and continues to be so much activity at the state, region, county and city level since the enactment of the federal OZ incentive in late 2017. Many state and local governments have fully embraced the incentive and made it clear that they’re open for business and want OZ investment in their communities. Others have expressed concerns about the potentially adverse effects of the incentive on their local communities, and have sought to dampen and more strictly regulate the flow of such capital into their communities and the corresponding impact of the incentive.

Field Guide for University-Community Partnerships

Joshua Yates, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture
Over the past three decades, American universities and colleges have witnessed a surge in activities oriented around their civic and social purposes. From the signing of the first Campus Compact Action Statement in 1985, which today includes over 1,000 university members, to the establishment of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities in 1989, which now serves over 90 universities and colleges, to the establishment of the Community Outreach Partnership Center by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 1990s, to the creation of the Carnegie Classification Elective on Community Engagement in the mid-2000s, what began as a revival of civic purpose and public service among institutions of higher education has evolved into a burgeoning movement of university-community partnerships nationwide. This Field Guide is intended to advance the growing field and practice of university-community partnerships.

Policy Digest

Digital Innovation: Seizing Policy Opportunities

OECD Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP)
To an ever-increasing extent, innovation is digital. Most innovations today are new products, processes or business models at least partly enabled by digital technologies or embodied in data and software. Innovation processes themselves are changing in an era of digital transformation, with the use of AI-based analytics that allows for large-scale experiments in research and new virtual simulation and prototyping techniques for developing new products. This report describes how the digital transformation is changing innovation processes and outcomes, highlighting general trends across the economy and factors behind sector-specific dynamics. In view of such changes, the report evaluates how policy support to innovation should adapt and in what directions. It also explores novel innovation policy approaches implemented by countries to promote digital technology adoption and collaborative innovation.

The digital transformation changes innovation because of the significant reduction in the cost of producing and disseminating knowledge and information – innovation’s key ingredient – that can be digitalized. Smart and connected products are very different from the tangible products that typified the previous industrial era. Four pervasive trends characterize innovation in the digital age. First, data are becoming a key input for innovation. Second, innovation activities increasingly focus on the development of services enabled by digital technologies. Third, innovation cycles are accelerating, with virtual simulation, 3D printing and other digital technologies providing opportunities for more experimentation and versioning. Fourth, innovation is becoming more collaborative, given the growing complexity of and interdisciplinary needs for digital innovation.

Impacts of the digital transformation differ significantly, however – both among and within sectors – in three main respects. First, the scope of opportunities for innovation in products, processes and business models that digital technologies offer differ among sectors. Second, sectors need different types of data for innovation, and so the challenges faced for their exploitation differ. Third, the conditions for digital technology adoption and diffusion also vary, for instance, due to differences in capabilities to take up those technologies and the level of maturity of sector-specific digital technology applications.

Key Recommendations

Changes in the characteristics of innovation in the digital age require that governments change existing innovation policy instruments and mixes to respond to emerging challenges. Four new challenges for policy making that need to be addressed as a priority include the following:

1. Develop policies addressing data access. This now has to be a major priority in all countries. These policies are critical, as data have become a core input to innovation and data access directly affects a wide range of policy domains, such as innovation support policies, public research policies, and competition policy. There is no simple approach to data access policies, as opportunities and challenges differ across data types. A general principle is that data access policies should ensure the broadest possible access to data and knowledge so as to favour competition and innovation, while respecting constraints regarding data privacy, ethical considerations, economic costs and benefits, and intellectual property rights considerations. Policies should take into consideration the diversity of data types as well as the diversity of interests and objectives served by providing different forms of data access and data rights to their owners.

2. Strengthen the responsiveness and agility of policies in view of rapidly changing contexts, offering more opportunities for small-scale policy experimentation to be scaled up or abandoned depending on assessed impacts. The use of digital tools to design and monitor policy targets can also spur faster and more efficient decision making. Mission-oriented programmes setting a goal but not the means to achieve it can also increase flexibility.

3. Support technology development that responds to societal challenges and engages with citizens to increase trust and address public concerns regarding new digital technologies, setting the necessary (anticipatory) regulations to ensure that new technologies and applications do not harm the public interest.

4. Consider the global nature of some of the pressing challenges affecting innovation (e.g. data access) when designing and reforming national policies; this will involve favouring cross-country co-operation and joint action.



18th Annual RE$EARCH MONEY Conference – New Bets and Old Favourites: Creating a Recipe for Success in the Innovation Economy

Ottawa, 16-17 April, 2019
Does Canada have the right policy ingredients to build a prosperous future based on innovation in the knowledge economy? The 18th Annual RE$EARCH MONEY conference will shed a spotlight on how Canada can maintain its research and talent strength while adding new policies and programs to accelerate firm growth and increase the number of large Canadian-owned multinationals. The RE$EARCH MONEY conference is an intimate gathering of innovation experts, including high-profile speakers from the business, finance, policymaking, and academic spheres. Use discount code AP2019 for $50 off your registration. Be part of the future of Canadian innovation!

Workshop Series on Migration, Globalization and the Knowledge Economy

Utrecht, Netherlands, 16-17 May, 2019
The workshop will consist of a 2-day plenary session with presentations and discussions, and two keynote speakers. The keynote speakers of the Utrecht workshop will be Ina Ganguli, from University of Massachusetts, and Ufuk Akcigit, from the University of Chicago. We aim to attract both senior and junior scholars dealing with research topics such as the role of high-skilled migration in fostering innovation in receiving countries, the relationship between diversity and innovation, the role of skilled diasporas and return migrants in diffusing knowledge back to their home countries, the emerging role of MNC in shaping scientists’ and engineers’ migration flows as well as temporary migration and knowledge sharing, migration and innovation-based start-ups formation, regions and mobility, and so forth.

8th ZEW/MaCCI Conference on the Economics of Innovation and Patenting

Manheim, Germany, 16-17 May, 2019
The conference aims to stimulate discussion between international researchers conducting related empirical and theoretical analysis. In addition to keynote lectures by Professor Dietmar Harhoff and Professor Timothy Simcoe as well as parallel sessions, there will also be an invited session on innovative public procurement with Professor Dirk Czarnitzki and Professor Giancarlo Spagnolo. Theoretical and empirical contributions from all areas of the economics of innovation and patenting are welcome. Interested researchers are invited to submit a paper or an extended abstract (min. 3 pages) in PDF format to no later than 15 February 2019.


Bordeaux, France, 20-21 May, 2019
We aim to attract contributions from both junior and senior scholars; a minimum number of slots are reserved for junior researchers (PhD students or postdoc scholars who obtained their PhD in 2016 or later). Up to 18 papers will be selected from open submissions on the basis of peer review. Contributions are invited on (but not limited to) one or more of the following topics:

  • The evaluation of science policy
  • Organising research activities in universities, PROs and private R&D labs
  • Spillovers from scientific research
  • Role of gender and family in scientific research
  • Science research networks and collaboration
  • Scientific careers and mobility

Deadline for the submission of papers or extended abstracts (min 3 pages) is January 31st 2019. Submissions should be previously unpublished works. All submissions are reviewed with respect to novelty, academic quality and relevance.

CFP: A Great Transformation? Workshop on the Impact of Automation and Artificial Intelligence on Regional Economies

Torino, Italy, 27-28 May, 2019
RENIR and Despina are pleased to announce the RENIR Workshop on the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on regional economies, sponsored by Collegio Carlo Alberto and the University of Turin.We aim to attract contributions from both junior and senior scholars. Up to 18 papers will be selected from open submissions on the basis of peer review.

CFP: 2019 University-Industry Interaction Conference

Helsinki, Finland, 18-20 June, 2019
This key event for university leaders, practitioners from both business and university, policymakers and educators attracts more than 500 participants from over 60 countries to interact, share knowledge and establish new relationships. During this three-day event, you will encounter presentations from over 100 organisations, tour innovation spaces, have access to a wide variety of workshops and participate in numerous networking opportunities to gain new insights into the bigger picture of university-industry interaction.


Copenhagen, Denmark, 19-21 June, 2019
Since 1996, DRUID has become one of the world’s premier academic conferences on innovation and the dynamics of structural, institutional and geographic change. DRUID is proud to invite senior and junior scholars to participate and contribute with a paper to DRUID19, hosted by Copenhagen Business School. Presenting distinguished plenary speakers, a range of parallel paper sessions, and an attractive social program, the conference aims at mapping theoretical, empirical and methodological advances, contributing novel insights, and help identifying scholarly positions, divisions, and common grounds in current scientific controversies within the field. Keynotes delivered by top scholars from innovation studies, management, economic geography, and numerous other research fields. Plenary speakers at DRUID19 include Stefano Brusoni, Dimo Dimov, Nijanlana Dutt, Annabel Gawer, Martine Haas, Adam B. Jaffe, Michael G. Jacobides, Sarah Kaplan and Dan Levinthal.

The 2019 Technology Transfer Society Annual Conference

Toronto, 26-28 September, 2019
The Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the Technology Transfer Society would like to invite you to submit a paper* to the 2019 Technology Transfer Conference. The main themes of the Conference will revolve around technology transfer and innovation policy, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship (with a focus on universities), and inclusive innovation. Submissions featuring longitudinal and historical studies, ideally using mixed-methods research are particularly encouraged. Submissions based on other methods are also welcome. For more information on how to submit an abstract, visit the Call for Papers page.

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

Atlanta, GA, 14-17 October, 2019
The Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy provides a showcase for the highest quality scholarship addressing the multidimensional challenges and interrelated characteristics of science and innovation policy and processes.

Regional Innovation Policies 2019: Technological Chance, Social Innovation, and Regional Transformation

Florence, Italy, 7-8 November, 2019
The Conference will focus on the paths of regional transformation that emerge as a response to technological and social change. Sustainability issues require regions to face change by trying to balance economic growth with social innovation. We will discuss the role that regional policies can play within such scenarios, by supporting the creation of new assets and resources, as well as favouring multi-level alignments of visions and interests.

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This newsletter is prepared by Jen Nelles.
Project manager is David A. Wolfe.