The IPL newsletter: Volume 13, Issue 268

News from the IPL


This newsletter is published by The Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and sponsored by the Ministry of Research and Innovation. The views and ideas expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Ontario Government.


Creating a Canadian Advantage in the Bio-Economy

A group of industry associations is joining forces in a new Bio-economy network (BEN) to explore ways to take advantage of the significant emerging potential in the global marketplace for bio-based products. The announcement was made recently at the Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit in Ottawa. BEN represents about 800 member companies that support more than two million jobs in areas such as the auto parts, biotech, chemical, agriculture and forest products industries. Areas for government-industry collaboration include the investment climate, the regulatory environment, innovation, and market diversification.  BEN will also work on collaborative partnerships and value added production.

UK Goverment Announces £50m Funding for London Tech City

The Government will put £50m towards a visionary project to regenerate the Old Street roundabout, which will see it transformed into Europe’s largest indoor civic space, dedicated to start-ups and entrepreneurs in East London. This new civic building will host classrooms, co-working spaces and workshops equipped with the latest 3D printing technology, for use by both the local start-ups and the wider community.

Editor's Pick

Transformation and Opportunity: The Future of the U.S. Research Enterprise

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
The United States is in the midst of a profound reorganization of how research is done, where it is done, who does it, and how its results find their way to the marketplace. This confluence of circumstances threatens the Nation’s world-leading position in innovation and technology and the benefits it brings. This report describes the nature of the current situation, the importance of what is at stake, and what has been the response to date of the U.S. science and technology enterprise. More importantly, it also discusses the kinds of actions that could create positive opportunities for the United States in the face of these troubling trends.

Innovation Policy

Reinventing American Manufacturing – The Role of Innovation

Bill Bonvillian, Innovations
U.S. manufacturing currently employs some 12 million workers—a significant number, but less than 10 percent of the total U.S. workforce and much lower than it once was. We look at this manufacturing workforce as those engaged in the actual production—at the moment of production—missing a wide range of inputs and outputs. However, should we limit our view of manufacturing to the production moment, which provides only a partial perspective on the role of this sector? Bonvillian argues that the manufacturing sector should be conceptualized as an hourglass that includes supply employment and distribution employment in addition to traditional production employment. He argues that the U.S. should develop an integrated strategy if it is to reinvent its production capability.

Improving University Technology Transfer and Commercialization

Darrell M. West, Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings
This paper reviews how universities report their commercialization activities, the need for better performance metrics, and ways to improve their disclosures and overall performance. Using an analysis of technology transfer annual reports, it argues that universities should provide more detailed financial performance data. By offering more complete material on money in and out, it would help evaluate how well universities are commercializing their research ideas and whether alternative models would produce better results. There needs to be better understanding of the innovation differences across academic fields, and increased emphasis on university transparency, accountability, and overall performance. I close the report by making specific recommendations for ways to do better on technology transfer and commercialization.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Promoting Growth in All Regions

Vibrant and dynamic urban centers are among the main drivers of national growth and employment, but this report highlights that even less wealthy regions have the potential to bolster stronger, greener, and more inclusive economies. This report contains case studies of 23 regions in which income was below the national average 15 years ago. Since then, half of these regions have grown and prospered above national standards, while the others have fallen further behind. Comparing the outcome of the policies used by thriving regions with those of the laggards, the report recommends ways for regional governments to promote business and improve living standards.

Demographic Change and Local Development

This report highlights the issues faced by local areas against the backdrop of policies or planning models that have directed local development in the past decades (e.g. introduction of new industries such as information technology/bio-technology following the de-industrialization of mining/manufacturing industries) but today appear less suitable than expected to ensure the sustainability of local development. This report is timely in discussing cases from 20 countries around the world and particularly signaling local strategies and initiatives for policy consideration and learning. The report considers together issues at the crossroads of modern local development in the context of demographic change: population mobility and urban shrinkage, regeneration strategies to stimulate sustainable growth, and social dynamics underpinning community stability.

Evolution of Innovation Policy in Emilia-Romagna and Valencia: Similar Reality, Similar Results?

Manuel Lopez-Estornell et al., INGENIO
This paper examines the evolution of regional innovation policy in EmiliaRomagna, and Valencia, regions with similar economic features that implemented similar innovation policies in the 1970s and 1980s. It investigates whether their similarities have led to similar targets, policy tools and governance developments. This paper shows that innovation policy in both regions suffered from the effects of privatization, budget constraints and changes to manufacturing during the 1990s and it highlight the consequences. Although Emilia-Romagna experienced deeper change to its innovation policy, privatizations and/or the replacement of public funds promoted commercial approaches and induced market failures in both regions. The worst effects of these policies were the implementation of less risky innovation projects, the shift towards extra-regional projects and markets, and the favouring of large firms.

Statistics & Indicators

MetroMonitor – December 2012

The Brookings Institution
The latest edition of the MetroMonitor shows continued growth in both output and employment in the third quarter of 2012, along with declining unemployment rates, and rising home values in most of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Use the interactive feature to find detailed data on your metropolitan area.

United States of Subsidies

The New York Times 
The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and interactive interface to explore the distribution of state subsidies and the companies that receive the most incentives.

The New Places Where America’s Tech Future is Taking Shape

Joel Kotkin,
Technology is reshaping our economic geography, but there’s disagreement as to how. Much of the media and pundits that the tech revolution is bound to be centralized in the dense, often “hip” places where  “smart” people cluster. Such claims have been bolstered by the tech boom of the past few years — especially the explosion of social media firms in places like Manhattan and San Francisco. Yet longer-term trends in tech employment suggest that these observations may be off the mark. According to an analysis by the Praxis Strategy Group, the fastest growth over the past decade in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related) employment has taken place not in the most fashionable cities but smaller, less dense metropolitan areas.

Policy Digest

NY Rising

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 
Innovation was a key term used in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address and is referenced heavily throughout his economic development agenda for the upcoming year. The governor proposed creating innovation hot spots, an innovation network and innovation venture capital fund. Efforts would be focused on accelerating technology transfer and providing funds to attract startup companies. Cleantech investments and support for competitive university-based projects that emphasize economic impact also are a priority for the governor. This document outlines  proposals that cover a wide range of issues, from raising the minimum wage to equality issues for women and gun policy. However, a key component to the plan is building on the work of the regional economic development councils established in 2011 and strengthening partnerships with higher education to continue growing the state’s tech-based sector.

Existing Economic Development Innovations and Programs

Regional Economic Develoment Councils: Replaces the top-down development strategies of the past with an approach that enables each region of the state to shape its own economic future. The ten Councils brought together stakeholders from labour, business and academia to develop long-term strategic plans based on each region’s specific priorities and unique resources.

New York Works: fosters and innovative and synergistic strategy between government and the private sector, allowing the State to leverage scarce resources by generating significant private sector investment. This multi-stakeholder task force is charged with reinventing state economic development by coordinating capital plans across 45 agencies and authorities, overseeing investment in projects and accelerating hundreds of vital projects across the state.

Energy Highway Initiative: Was introduced in the 2012 State of the State address and is part of a plan to ensure that New York’s energy grid is the most advanced in the nation and to promote increased business investment in the state. The Energy Highway Blueprint identifies specific actions to modernize and expand the state’s electric infrastructure.

NYSUNY 2020 Challange Grant Program: A sustained competition-based model to support job growth through state universities. The grant program, a joint program between the Governor and the State University of New York (SUNY), support individualized long-term economic development plans on SUNY campuses and in the surrounding communities.

This year’s economic development program will build upon the work of the Regional Economic Development Councils as well as partnerships with higher education.

Selected Challenges and Responses

The Challenge
Tech Transfer – From Academia to Commercialization
The knowledge-based economy and global competition makes it more important than ever for New York State to become the leader in innovation and new business creation. Although there have been some noteworthy success stories, New York has not done as good a job as some other states in leveraging its research strength to drive economic growth.

To energize economic growth, Governor Cuomo is proposing a bold program to accelerate the commercialization of good ideas and the creation of new business to take them to market:

– Create “Innovation Hot Spots”;
– Hot Spots will be tax-free Zones;
– Change the culture of academic commercialization by creating an Innovation NY Network;
– Foster investment through a NYS Innovation Venture Capital Fund;

The Challenge
Make New York the Leader in the Clean Tech Economy
Governor Cuomo has implemented innovative policies to spur the clean tech economy, including the NY-Sun solar program, the first statewide on-bill energy efficiency financing program in the nation. He proposes to continue this momentum with the following programs:

– Create a $1 billion Green Bank to leverage public dollars with private-sector match to spur the clean tech economy;
– Extend the NY-Sun solar jobs program;
– Create the Charge NY plan;
– Create a cabinet-level energy czar;


Constructing Resilience

Berlin, 17-18 January, 2013
After the experiences of uncontrollable natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, socio-technical misjudgements as unveiled in the nuclear disaster in Fukushima or the controversial negotiations about the sources and consequences of climate change, societal debates increasingly have turned from valuing indeterminacy as an opportunity to perceiving uncertainty as a threat. The world, it seems, lives in a permanent state of emergency. Somewhere between resignation and the belief to control risks, a “new language of preparedness” (Ash Amin) is emerging, and vulnerability and resilience have become keywords in this new language. The aim of this conference is to stimulate cross-disciplinary dialogue among leading experts representing sociology, political science, geography, planning studies and regional economics about the notions, conceptual scope and limitations of resilience. A particular emphasis will be put on the socio-technical, political and discursive construction work that underlies calculations of vulnerability and strategies of enhancing resilience. The conference is co-organized by the HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU)  and the Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning (IRS), and supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Eu-SPRI Annual Conference 2013 – The Management of Innovation Policies: New Forums of Collaboration in Policy Design, Implementation and Evaluation

Madrid, Spain, 10-12 April, 2013
The Conference aims to encourage dialogue between academics and practitioners to improve innovation policy design, implementation and evaluation. The conference will offer keynote speeches, parallel thematic sessions, roundtable discussions, special activities for young researchers and ample space for all participants to interact. Visits to research and innovation centres both in public and private institutions will be offered after the conference.

Shape and Be Shaped: The Future Dynamics of Regional Development

Tampere, Finland, 5-8 May, 2013
In the many regions and localities of the world, there is an ever-growing need to find new solutions for the future, as they are increasingly confronted with intertwined sets of ecological, social and economic difficulties as well as new opportunities brought to them by the globalising economy. Indeed, there is a need to work for more balanced and sustainable development and cross the many institutional boundaries that prevent new solutions from being created. What makes all of this a demanding set of policy challenges, is that regions and localities need to find ways to manage their own destiny while being manipulated by many forces. The central idea underpinning the RSA 2013 conference in Tampere is that there is now an urgent need to better to understand how regions and localities can adapt to current challenges and deal with the wicked issues of sustainability by developing new multi-actor governance, policy-making and leadership capacities. The conference offers researchers and workers in local and regional development an opportunity to collectively explore and discuss these key issues from a multitude of perspectives and with different theoretical stand points and with empirical observations from different parts of the world.

16th Uddevalla Symposium 2013: Innovation, High-Growth Entrepreneurship and Regional Development

Kansas City, 13-15 June, 2013
The critical role of innovation and entrepreneurship in regional economic development in terms of productivity and employment growth has been well documented theoretically as well as empirically by researchers in recent decades. The specific mechanisms through which innovation stimulates regional economic development are less well established. It is often assumed that entrepreneurship in the form of new firm formation and the growth of newly established firms plays a critical role, but how, why, when and under what conditions is less clear. Empirical studies show that a limited share of new business ventures have the capacity to rapidly up-scale and to generate substantial new jobs in the regions where they are launched. From the perspective of regional policy makers, this implies that it is critical to understand what regional economic milieus are capable of generating innovations that can be the basis of high-growth entrepreneurship as well as provide the right environment for entrepreneurs to launch entrepreneurial initiatives.Against this background, we seek papers that, in particular, topics related to exploring these themes.

9th European Urban and Regional Studies Conference
Europe and the World: Competing Visions, Changing Spaces, Flows and Politics

Brighton, UK, 10-12 July, 2013
Europe’s relations with the wider world are continuously undergoing change. The urban and regional significance of these changing relations remains surprisingly poorly understood. The global financial and economic crisis, the dramatic events of late 2010 and 2011 in the Middle East and North Africa, the continuing crisis in Europe, and the global rise of ‘new powers’ are each impacting on how Europe, its citizens, and its cities and regions are connected to the wider world. The 9th European Urban and Regional Studies conference aims to consider a wide range of consequences of these changes as well as other themes relating to European urban and regional change.


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