The IPL newsletter: Volume 14, Issue 281

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.


SSHRC to Launch the Imagining Canada’s Future Six Future Challenge Areas

Thursday, September 26, 2013, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. in the Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place, South House, at the Munk School of Global Affairs 

For Canada to be a successful 21st-century society it needs to anticipate the challenges ahead and keep minds open to the potential futures. This is the inspiration behind SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. Over the past two years, SSHRC conducted a cross-Canada and international consultation process, during which the Council reached out to more than 13,000 subject matter experts, members of the academic research community, and public and private sector leaders, to seek their insight. The goal was to identify future challenge areas for Canada in an evolving global context that are likely to emerge in five, 10 and 20 years and to which the social sciences and humanities research community could contribute its knowledge, talent and expertise.

The result was the selection of SSHRC’s six future challenge areas. They represent lenses through which SSHRC—in collaboration with the Canadian social sciences and humanities research community—feels it can and should make a difference in the coming years.

These six future challenge areas will be presented at a panel discussion at the Munk School of Global Affairs, hosted by Dr. David Wolfe, Director, Innovation Policy Lab, and will feature presentations by:

  • Dr. Gisèle Yasmeen, SSHRC Vice-President  Research/Senior Advisor to the President
  • Dr. Helmut Reichenbächer, Associate Vice-President of Research and Dean of Graduate Studies at OCAD University
  • Dr. Pekka Sinervo, Senior Vice-President of Research at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
  • Dr. Brent Herbert-Copley, SSHRC Vice-President of Research Capacity
  • Jennifer Corriero, Co-founder and Executive Director, Taking ITGlobal

For further information, please contact:
Thérèse de Groote
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Vice-President, Research

Statistics Canada Predicts Science, Technology Budget Cuts

Fiona Buchanan, The Vancouver Sun
Government spending in science and technology is being trimmed across the board again this year, but a new Statistics Canada report concludes the government will likely give a small boost in funding to one lucky sector: business. The report, entitled Federal Scientific Activities, estimates that funding will be reduced in all science and technology sectors, including higher education and non-profit institutions, with the exception of the business sector. StatsCan thinks it will get a slight increase, an extra $68 million, bringing spending to $1.1 billion in the 2013-14 fiscal year from $1.032 billion last year. The money goes to “business and government enterprises, including public utilities and government-owned firms” as well as incorporated science and engineering consultants.

Editor's Pick

The Evaluation of the U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Clusters Initiative – Year Two Report

Mark Turner, Alexandre Monnard, Laura Leete, SBA
The Regional Clusters Initiative provides funding to cluster organizing entities to increase opportunities for small business cluster participation, to promote innovation in focus industries, and to enhance regional economic development and growth in cluster regions. The Initiative incorporates two types of clusters: seven Regional Innovation Clusters(RIC) focused on innovative and leading technologies in a variety of industries, and three Advance Defense Technology (ADT) clusters focused on industries of interest to the U.S. Department of Defense. The evaluation described here aims to provide an understanding of how the Regional Clusters Initiative was implemented across the 10 clusters, to describe and assess the services provided by clusters to participating businesses and organizations, and to measure changes in key business and organizational outcomes. In particular, this evaluation focuses on both short- and intermediate-term outcomes that may be influenced by cluster activities and services (e.g., development of alliances among cluster participants, commercialization of new technologies, and improved export and marketing strategies) as well as on longer-term outcomes (e.g., employment and payroll growth, business revenue growth, and new business formation). These longer-term outcomes are compared with various benchmark measures for comparable region/industry combinations derived from alternative sources.

Innovation Policy

Global Manufacturing: Foreign Government Programs Differ in Key Respects From Those in the United States

United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)
In this report to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology, U.S. Senate the GAO found that when compared to the United States, the countries in GAO’s study offer some key distinctions in government programs to support the manufacturing sector in the areas of innovation, trade, and training. Overall, GAO’s analysis shows the broad extent to which four countries who are U.S. competitors are leveraging the public sector to help their manufacturing industries maintain competitiveness in a rapidly changing global economy.

Game Changers: Five Opportunities For U.S. Growth and Renewal

McKinsey Global Institute
The US economy is struggling to find a new formula for vigorous growth. But all growth opportunities are not created equal. This recent research pinpoints five catalysts—in energy, trade, technology, infrastructure, and talent development—that can quickly create jobs and deliver a substantial boost to GDP by 2020.

Competitiveness, Innovation and Productivity: Clearing Up the Confusion

Robert D. Atkinson, ITIF
To listen to many economists, pundits and policymakers discuss the economics of growth it would be easy to be confused by the commonly used terms: competitiveness, innovation and productivity. These terms are often used almost interchangeably and with little precise meaning. To remedy the situation, this policy memo defines these terms and explains how each is important in driving economic prosperity.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Innovation and the City – Part II: 25 of the Best Policy Innovations from Cities Across the U.S. and Around the Globe

Adam Forman, David Giles, Neil Kleiman and Jae Ko, Center for an Urban Future (CUF)
This report profiles 25 of the best policy innovations from cities across the U.S. and around the globe—giving mayors and other municipal leaders the ability to learn from their peers and develop new policies based on models that have already proven effective. The report draws upon hundreds of interviews with mayors, agency chiefs, policy experts, academics, business leaders, labour unions and philanthropic foundations, andidentifies some of the boldest and most inventive urban policy reforms of the last decade.

The Basque Country Competitiveness Report 2013

Orkestra-Instituto Vasco de Competitividad
A permanent need for transformation, inherent in any market economy, is even more imperative in times of economic crisis. In order to make sure that such transformation creates employment and wealth, territories need to develop productive transformation strategies. The 2013 Basque Country Competitiveness Report conducts an in-depth study of six key levers of competitiveness on which the Basque Country should work in order to move forward in the productive transformation of its economy. It reflects on the main features necessary for the region to overcome its current economic difficulties and to ensure long term sustainable economic development.

Top Trends in State Economic Development

National Governors Association
According to this new report, whether in creating new businesses, developing a skilled workforce, or building stronger connections between universities and regional economies, governors and lawmakers have taken a “grow your own” approach to economic recovery over the past two years. The report identifies six trends that have emerged during this time, including states emphasizing job creation from within, strengthening support for advanced manufacturing, and creating partnerships to meet industry’s demand for talent.

Statistics & Indicators

Regional Concentrations of Scientists and Engineers in the United States

Beethika Khan and Jaquelina C. Falkenheim, National Science Foundation
Science and engineering (S&E) employment in the United States is geographically concentrated in a small number of states and several major metropolitan areas within those states, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey (ACS). The three most populous states—California, Texas, and New York—together accounted for more than one-fourth of all S&E employment in the United States. Several major metropolitan areas in those states, for example, areas around Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and San Diego, all in California, and areas around New York City and Houston, together accounted for approximately 1 in 10 S&E workers nationwide. The availability of a skilled workforce is an important predictor of a region’s population, productivity, and technological growth. Workers with S&E expertise are an integral part of a region’s innovative capacity because of their high levels of skill, creative ideas, and contributions to scientific knowledge and R&D.

Tech Starts: High-Technology Business Formation and Job Creation in the United States

Ian Hathaway, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
High-tech startups are a key driver of job creation throughout the United States, according to this report. Though they start lean, new high-tech companies grow rapidly in the early years, adding thousands of jobs along the way. In fact, high-tech startup job creation is so robust that it more than makes up for the job destruction from early-stage businesses failures – a key distinction from the private sector as a whole where job losses from early-stage failures turns this group into net job destroyers.

Policy Digest

The State of Industrial R&D in Canada

Council of Canadian Academies
The Minister of Industry, on behalf of Industry Canada, asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess industrial research and development (IR&D) in Canada. To conduct this assessment the Council assembled a 14-member expert panel who met over the course of 14 months to consider the most relevant evidence possible.

This report provides an in-depth analysis of research and development activities in Canadian industries and is one of the most detailed and systematic studies of the state of IR&D ever undertaken in Canada. While many reports have documented Canada’s historical weakness in industrial R&D, the Panel’s report sheds new light on the subject by examining areas of strength and how these strengths are distributed regionally. The report also examines the alignment of IR&D strengths with Canada’s areas of excellence in science and technology research and economic performance.  Barriers and gaps that limit the translation of Canada’s S&T strengths into innovation and wealth creation are also identified.

The State of IR&D in Canada

The Canadian business sector invests relatively little in IR&D compared to peers abroad, although some industries are highly IR&D intensive by international standards. The first part of this finding is consistent with previously published studies, and continues to be troubling given Canada’s persistent record of relatively low productivity growth. Most significantly, the low level of IR&D investment suggests that IR&D is not the principal strategy followed by many Canadian firms in maintaining their competitiveness. Expressed as a share of GDP, IR&D expenditures in Canada are now roughly half the U.S. level and declining. Several Canadian industries, however, show higher IR&D intensities than those of other G7 countries. These include communications equipment manufacturing, office and computing machinery manufacturing, coke and refined petroleum products manufacturing, and pulp and paper.

The IR&D intensity gap between Canada and the United States is largely driven by Canada’s low IR&D intensity in the manufacturing sector. The relatively large share of the Canadian economy accounted for by natural resource industries has almost no impact on this gap. Instead, some of Canada’s high-technology manufacturing industries, such as semiconductor and computer equipment manufacturing, form a smaller share of the economy in Canada than in the United States. This smaller size drags down the manufacturing sector’s aggregate IR&D intensity. The declining share of these high-technology manufacturing industries in the Canadian economy in recent years has further exacerbated this effect. While a relatively high degree of foreign ownership may act to lower IR&D in some industries, such as motor vehicle manufacturing, it is unlikely that this fully explains the overall picture in Canada.

Many industries that traditionally do not spend as much on IR&D have either increased or maintained their IR&D expenditures and intensity in recent years in Canada. Some of these industries reflect Canada’s traditional comparative advantage in natural resources, such as oil and gas extraction and pulp and paper manufacturing. The dominant source of competitive advantage for these industries is not development of new technologies. Rather, it comes from the rapid adoption of new ideas and technologies, which is facilitated by IR&D investment in these industries.

IR&D in Canada is relatively personnel intensive and less capital intensive when compared to other countries. Although Canada’s rank by IR&D intensity is low among OECD countries, the share of the population employed in IR&D places Canada in the middle of the pack. Implicitly, the labour costs of Canadian IR&D personnel are low in comparison to other countries. Expenditures on capital equipment to perform IR&D are also proportionately lower. The full implication of these findings is unclear and warrants further study.

Fewer large firms undertake IR&D in Canada than in highly IR&D-intensive countries. The average size of firms performing IR&D in Canada is smaller than in other countries, and the share of total IR&D performed by smaller firms has increased. The relationship between IR&D expenditures and firm size is complex: IR&D intensity tends to be lower in larger firms, but larger firms are more likely to perform IR&D. Although it may be encouraging that smaller firms are undertaking relatively more IR&D, this could be holding back Canada’s overall IR&D performance. There are economies of scale in IR&D, and larger firms may be needed to take the successes of smaller firms to a broader market.

Canada has the 12th highest rate of patents granted in the world, and the impact of Canadian patents is relatively high. Canada is responsible for 1.1 per cent of patents filed in Europe, Japan, and the United States, and around 4 per cent of the world’s scientific journal articles. Canada also accounts for a relatively large share of world patents in pharmaceuticals and medicines (drugs), and communications technologies. Canadian industry patents are cited in other patents about 20 per cent more than the world average, suggesting a relatively high impact on development of related technologies.

Canadian firms report relatively high levels of innovation compared to firms in other countries. According to a series of innovation surveys in Canada and abroad, Canadian firms repeatedly report relatively high levels of innovation in contrast to their relatively low expenditures on IR&D. This suggests that Canadian firms do not rely on IR&D to generate innovation as much as firms in other countries. Innovation comes from other sources such as organizational change. It is less clear that Canadian firms perform as well in translating innovation into additional sales.

When judged by many of the traditional indicators, Canada’s overall IR&D performance is relatively weak. Canada, however, has substantial IR&D strength in several key industries. In addition, there may be many other niche areas of Canadian excellence and technological development. Nothing precludes Canadian researchers and businesses from making advances and contributions across all industries (or all scientific domains). A single, small firm can have a large impact on a globally dispersed industry with the introduction of the right technology at the right time.

Inevitably, the future commercial successes or failures in many industries will hinge on the extent to which Canadian firms are capable of adopting, developing, and marketing world-leading technologies. Building a strong foundation of IR&D is an essential part of developing that capacity for the future, thereby ensuring that Canadian firms can successfully compete in a global economy increasingly centred on knowledge and technology


16th TCI Global Conference – Designing the Future: Innovation Through Strategic Partnerships

Kolding, Denmark, 3-6 September, 2013
Throughout the world, cluster companies are working on turning new ideas into new  products and services that lead to higher turnover and growth. As a consequence we are witnessing new forms of innovation partnerships between companies, research institutions and public authorities in clusters. In designing this year’s conference program, the TCI aims at getting a better understanding of how innovation partnerships work in practice, what can be learned from them, and how they add value to clusters.

Regional Innovation Policy Dynamics: Actor, Agency and Learning

Manchester, UK, 23-24 September, 2013
The network seeks to advance the understanding of regional policy dynamics, the role of agency and leadership in policy change and institutionalisation, and associated challenges for policy evaluation. The workshop in Manchester builds on previous workshops in San Sebastian in 2012 and Tampere in 2013 and seeks to explore new methodologies, concepts and evidence that contribute to the understanding of public policy processes and regional dynamics.

Imagining Canada’s Future Six Future Challenge Areas 

Toronto, 26 September, 2013
For Canada to be a successful 21st-century society it needs to anticipate the challenges ahead and keep minds open to the potential futures. This is the inspiration behind SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. Over the past two years, SSHRC conducted a cross-Canada and international consultation process, during which the Council reached out to more than 13,000 subject matter experts, members of the academic research community, and public and private sector leaders, to seek their insight. The goal was to identify future challenge areas for Canada in an evolving global context that are likely to emerge in five, 10 and 20 years and to which the social sciences and humanities research community could contribute its knowledge, talent and expertise.
The result was the selection of SSHRC’s six future challenge areas. They represent lenses through which SSHRC—in collaboration with the Canadian social sciences and humanities research community—feels it can and should make a difference in the coming years. These six future challenge areas will be presented at a panel discussion at the Munk School, hosted by Dr. David Wolfe, Director, Innovation Policy Lab,

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

Atlanta, GA, 26-28 September, 2013
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. This year’s sessions will explore the research front addressing the broad range of issues central to the structure, function, performance and outcomes of the science and innovation enterprises.

International Benchmarking Forum 2013: Smart Specialization Strategies of Cities and Regions in Europe

Basel, Switzerland, 26-27 September, 2013
Smart Specialization means identifying the unique characteristics and assets of each country and region and thus highlighting each region’s true competitive advantages and potential. This process enables more effective rallying of regional stakeholders and resources around an excellence-driven vision of the future. It also means strengthening regional innovation systems, maximizing knowledge flows and spreading the benefits of innovation throughout the entire regional economy. In order to find answers to these challenges deeper knowledge about sectors, technological developments, and trends is needed. A better assessment of capabilities, potential, demand, and aspirations of regional and national stakeholders is essential. Smart Specialization is the basis of EU Structural Fund Investments in Research & Innovation (R&I) as part of the future Cohesion Policy of the EU within the Europe 2020 jobs and growth agenda. The conference gathers European and non-European stakeholders dealing with Smart Specialization strategies, coming from National, regional and also municipal levels, including scientists as well as business and governmental representatives.

City Age: The Innovation City

Waterloo Region, 9-10 October, 2013
Join business leaders and city builders from across Canada and abroad to explore the partnerships in urban design, infrastructure development, research and urban resiliency that are the foundations of an innovation economy. Timed to coincide with North America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, this two day event will provide a practical look at the steps your community, company, or organisation can take to lead in the 21st Century.

2nd European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and the Economy

Berlin, Germany, 10-11 October, 2013
During the past decades myriad links between culture, creativity and economic practice have become major topics of interdisciplinary debates. No longer restricted to a few sectors, there is a growing consensus that the intersections between these spheres and symbolic and culturally embedded values in particular, pervade the global economy. Indeed, the formerly distinct logics of the cultural and the economic have become increasingly indiscernible. Similarly, the notion of creativity, once used to express exceptional talent, activities and outcomes, is now considered a key component to success in all fields of economic activity. At the same time, the Internet has revolutionized the conditions under which cultural production and distribution as well as creative collaboration can be undertaken. Despite the high degree of uncertainty about future developments, policy makers as well as business managers are highly optimistic, if not enthusiastic, about the ability of symbolic values and creativity to drive sustained economic growth and regional development. This colloquium will take up and continue an international and interdisciplinary debate on these topics.

8th International Seminar on Regional Innovation Policies

Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, 10-11 October, 2013

This will be the latest in the stream of annual seminars that began in Porto in 2006 and have since been hosted in Saltzburg, Santander, Edinburgh, Grimstad, Lund and again in Porto (2012). These seminars have placed strong emphasis on regions as a key unit for policy analysis, highlighting the role that regional innovation policies can play in building sustainable competitive advantages. At a time when regions across Europe are adapting to new realities brought about by a deep and widespread economic downturn, changing environmental constraints and emerging social challenges, it is more critical than ever to analyze the roles and impacts of regional innovation policies. The seminar provides a meeting point for researchers, policy-makers, academics, practitioners and doctoral students interested in issues related to regional innovation policy, regional competitiveness and regional development. You are invited to present and discuss the results of cutting-edge applied research, and to join in learning together how to better understand regional innovation dynamics and how policies can orient these dynamics towards meeting existing and future regional challenges.

The Geography of Innovation 

Utrecht, The Netherlands, 23-25 January, 2014
This conference provides a forum for discussion to scholars and practitioners interested in scientific, policy and strategic issues concerning the spatial dimension of innovation activities. The main objective of this event is to bring together reserachers from a variety of disciplines ranging from economic geography, economics, management science, sociology, network theory, regional science and urban studies. The conference invites contributions in a wide range of topics underlying the geography of innovation, such as: global and local dynamics of innovation; science and technology policy; cluster competitiveness; firms R&D strategies; entrepreneurships; innovation systems; sustainable and social innovation; industrial dynamics and innovation networks.

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