The IPL newsletter: Volume 14, Issue 288

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 Partners with Cisco Canada to Help Create up to 1,700 Jobs

Ontario is partnering with Cisco Canada to launch the largest job-creating investment in the history of the province’s tech sector. Cisco will make Ontario one of its global research and development hubs for its next-generation technologies. It will create up to 1,700 jobs to expand its current Ontario workforce to 3,000 in the next six years, with up to $190 million in provincial support. Cisco will potentially grow its Ontario workforce to 5,000 within the next 10 years. Cisco is investing up to $4 billion in Ontario over the next decade, including up to $2.2 billion in salaries alone. The Ontario government is providing a total grant of up to $220 million to support Cisco’s investment.

New Initiative Promotes Canada-European Innovation Collaboration

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
A new Canadian-European initiative aims to raise awareness of the growing partnership opportunities for Canadian and European researchers and innovators. The ERA-Can Plus project will promote science, technology and innovation collaboration between Canada and the European Union through policy dialogues, research exchanges and information sharing about funding opportunities. The initiative, launched in early October, begins just as the EU is set to start its Eighth Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, also referred to as Horizon 2020, with an expected budget of more than €70 billion (CAD $92 billion) between 2014-2020. The signing of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement in the same month also underscores the important economic and research ties between Canada and the EU, and the role of science and technology for promoting innovation-based economic growth.

NYC Announces US$100M Biotech Venture Fund and Creation of Medical Technology Institute

SSTI Weekly Digest
New York City Deputy Mayor Robert Steel announced that it will establish a new $100 million venture fund for life sciences research according to Crain’s New York. The city will invest an initial $10 million to establish the new biotech venture fund. The city already has an additional $40 million pledged from private-sector partners — Celgene, GE Ventures and Eli Lilly & Co. The city currently is seeking to partner with a venture-capital firm to manage the fund and invest at least $50 million to the fund. The proposed fund would help launch between 15 to 20 life sciences companies by 2020. The city also unveiled plans for the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology, a new technological institute focusing on medical technology. With $5 million in assistance from the city, Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine will partner with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to construct the lab space focused on biomedical discovery and development of technology-based healthcare solutions.

£2 million boost for universities to support social ventures

HEFCE has recently launched a £2 million program to strengthen and broaden support for social entrepreneurship and social enterprise in universities and higher education colleges across England. The program, part of the ‘UnLtd SEE Change, Social Entrepreneurship in Education’ initiative, will be delivered by UnLtd, the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK, and will encourage higher education institutions to act as ‘hubs’ to support social entrepreneurs beyond their staff and students, and to take the lead in supporting social inclusion and economic development in their communities. Universities will set up their own ‘ecosystems’ of support – each with a wide network of potential members such as other universities, further education colleges, local authorities, public sector bodies and private sector companies, plus key agencies working in the higher education (HE) and social enterprise sectors.

Editor's Pick

The Business of Cities 2013: What Do 150 City Indexes and Benchmarking Studies Tell Us About the Urban World in 2013?

Tim Moonen and Greg Clark, Jones Lang Lasalle
The urban world is in full swing. The number of people living in cities is increasing by more than the population of the UK, Colombia or South Africa each year, and the present and future performance of cities has never been more important. Cities are now the major sites where challenges around the new economy, sustainability and resilience, equality, infrastructure, leisure and culture are all played out. Five years on from the Global Financial Crisis, the focus is on how cities are navigating new paths towards sustainable growth. The measurement of city performance is one of the critical ways in which we can assess the complexity of urban change, and judge which approaches are successful or not. This report makes a valuable contribution in assembling the widest possible collection of global city indexes, benchmarks and comparative rankings. This 2013 edition has been expanded in scope to encompass over 150 indexes, which together offer a comprehensive bird’s-eye view of the state of city watching worldwide. Cities are inevitably responding differently to the demand for new approaches to internationalisation. Some have moved faster than others, whether in terms of trade links, investment sources, sustainability or integrating urban systems. The benchmarks, reports and indexes presented here provide a unique resource for governments, business leaders and investors to learn about city strengths and weaknesses, and assess the progress of new agendas in a fast-moving global economy.

Innovation Policy

Innovation Union Competitiveness Report 2013

European Commission
The EU is facing increasing world competition, in particular at the higher end of global value chains. In 2011, more than 70 % of the world’s knowledge production was taking place outside the EU, and half of the world’s scientists and engineers lived outside the triad. Since 2008, developed Asian countries have gained increasing shares of global value chain income including income from medium-high and high- tech products. Europe remains a main knowledge production centre in the world, accounting for almost a third of the world’s science and technology production. However, the US and Asian research and innovation efforts are often more strategically oriented. Science and technology development in Asia and the United States are more focused on transformative and pervasive technologies and more oriented towards emerging global markets. This report tracks European competitiveness on innovation and proposes six lessons for innovation-driven growth.

Capturing Change in Science and Technology: Improving Indicators to Inform Policy

Robert E. Litan, Andrew W. Wyckoff, and Kaye Husbands Fealing, National Academy of Sciences
This report assesses and provides recommendations regarding the need for revised, refocused, and newly developed indicators of STI activities that would enable NCSES to respond to changing policy concerns. This report also identifies and assesses both existing and potential data resources and tools that NCSES could exploit to further develop its indicators program. Finally, the report considers strategic pathways for NCSES to move forward with an improved STI indicators program. The recommendations offered in Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation are intended to serve as the basis for a strategic program of work that will enhance NCSES’s ability to produce indicators that capture change in science, technology, and innovation to inform policy and optimally meet the needs of its user community.

University Research Funding: Still Lagging and Showing No Signs of Improvement

Robert D. Atkinson and Luke A. Stewart
It will come as a surprise to many that America is no longer, and nowhere near, the lead nation in terms of funding university research. In fact, of 39 nations, the U.S. ranks just 24th in government funding and 27th in business funding as a share of GDP. In fact, the leading seven nations invest more than double the U.S. level. The result over time will be a continued loss of U.S. competitiveness. This paper discusses the importance of university research, benchmarks U.S. performance and explores the causes of low research rankings.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

The Creative Industries: Catalysts for Wealth and Influence for Metropolitan Montreal

Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
This study shows that these industries generated economic benefits of $8.6 billion and provided the city with 91,500 direct jobs in 2012. The study on creative industries draws a realistic portrait of this sector, which has strong potential for growth. The city’s creative industries, including a number of companies that are already economic flagships and ambassadors for Québec on the international scene, can only benefit from concerted efforts to increase their competitiveness.

Regions and Innovation: Collaborating Across Borders

This report examines cross-border collaboration on innovation, building on case studies of cross-border areas that include the following countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom and Ireland.

Statistics & Indicators

Best Performing Cities Index

The Miliken Institute
The Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” index shows that technology and energy are the biggest forces behind America’s booming cities. Austin, Texas, reclaimed the No.1 spot based on a booming technology sector. Similarly, the rest of the top five all enjoy thriving tech sectors: Provo, Utah (second, up from seventh last year); San Francisco (third, up from 36th); San Jose (fourth, down from first) and Salt Lake City (fifth, up from sixth). Other cities in the top tier reflect how the surging U.S. energy sector is lighting up local economies. The shale oil and gas boom thrust nine metros into the Top 25, including Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi in Texas, as well as Bakersfield, Calif. In North Dakota, oil production has increased by more than 400 percent from 2007 to 2012, helping place both Fargo and Bismarck in the Top 5 small cities.

Tracking Innovation: North Carolina Innovation Index 2013

North Carolina Board of Science and Technology
Innovation fuels a knowledge-based economy: it creates new industries, makes existing ones globally competitive, and sustains economic growth. With this report, the fourth in a series of innovation indexes that began with Tracking Innovation 2000, North Carolina is one of a handful of enterprising states that regularly monitor innovation assets, activities, and trends within their borders. This 2013 report measures the health of North Carolina’s innovation economy. It tracks North Carolina’s performance across 38 innovation measures weighed against that of the United States overall, six key comparison states (California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Virginia, Colorado, Washington) and leading countries. These measures provide insights into the links between innovation, resources, and economic results in the North Carolina economy.

Policy Digest

University Start-Ups: Critical for Improving Technology Transfer

Walter D. Valdivia, The Brookings Institution
University technology transfer has been largely dominated by a business model of licensing university patents to the highest bidder. This model is unprofitable for most universities and sometimes even risks alienating the private sector. However, a new and smarter model has emerged and is being increasingly adopted. In this new model universities nurture their own start-ups and make available their patents to them. This ought to improve technology transfer. But universities cannot do it alone, they operate within a larger innovation ecology and the government can help foster an adequate environment for entrepreneurship.

  • The license-to-the-highest-bidder model has yielded high income for only a few universities. Most universities lose money on it. In 2012, a year very much in line with the ten-year trends in this sector, the top 5% of earners (8 universities) took 50% of the total licensing income of the university system; and the top 10% (16 universities) took 70%, nearly three-quarters of the system’s income.
  • Not only licensing revenue is highly asymmetric but also the highest earners have become a select club with a stable membership. Only 37 universities have been able to reach the top 20 of licensing revenue any given year over the last decade.
  • Of the 155 universities reporting licensing data in 2012, the top half in terms of research expenditures controls about nine of each ten dollars of research funds and of licensing revenue.
  • Using tech transfer office expenses information, Valdivia estimates that 130 universities did not generate enough licensing income in 2012 to cover the wages of their technology transfer staff and the legal costs for the patents they file. What is more, with 84% universities operating technology transfer in the red, 2012 was a good year because over the last 20 years, on average, 87% did not break even.

Luckily, though, universities appear to recognize that their patent and commercialization projects must change and are moving to, what Valdivia terms, a “nurturing start-ups model.”

Three key recommendations to engineer a start-ups model revolution in tech transfer:

  1. 1) The government should expand funding for the Small Business Technology Transfer program designating funds specifically for university start-ups.
  2. 2) Congress should authorize a patent use exemption for non-profit research organizations for the purpose of exclusive experimental use.
  3. 3) The government should create an equity rule for the distribution of funds among universities.


DRUID Academy Conference 2014

Aalborg, Denmark, 15-17 January, 2014
The conference is open for all PhD students working within the broad field of economics and management of innovation, entrepreneurship and organizations. We invite papers aiming at enhancing our understanding of the dynamics of technological, structural and institutional change at the level of firms, industries, regions and nations. DRUID is the node for an open international network – new partners are most welcome. We encourage all PhD students to submit their research to the conference. Do not hesitate to apply even if you have not been in contact with DRUID previously. The main emphasis is on PhD presentations. Each PhD student paper will be assigned to a “junior” (a fellow PhD student) and to a senior discussant (from DRUID faculty or invited guests). There will also be a series of keynote speakers in the program. The details of the program, titles of keynote presentations etc. will be continuously updated at the DRUID homepage.

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.

Budget 2014: Re-balancing Innovation Support Programs

Ottawa, 22-23 April, 2014
he 13th annual RE$EARCH MONEY conference continues our examination of the implications of recent federal budgets for business innovation support. This year, we will look at how Budget 2014 builds on the last two budgets, in particular the extent to which the government is changing the balance between indirect and direct support of firms and the balance between supporting basic and applied research in academia and academic-industrial research collaboration. We’ll also look at implications of the anticipated update to the federal government’s science and technology strategy, should it be released with the 2014 budget or before, and examine progress being made with the federal government’s new VC fund and its support for accelerators and other innovation intermediaries. In smaller breakout sessions we’ll dig deeper into specific opportunities being pursued in Canada in the digital economy, new industries based on genomics and quantum computing and new sources of funding such as crowdfunding, impact investing.

Business Innovation Summit 2014: Accelerating Corporate Innovation and Commercialization

Toronto, 28-29 May, 2014
The objective of this conference is to help companies of all sizes across Canada harness the power of innovation, and accelerate their innovation and commercialization results. The Summit is exploring the real-life challenges and opportunities of innovation within firms, and is featuring tangible solutions that work. We are assembling an outstanding lineup of Canadian and international speakers to share best practices and unique insights on how to implement effective processes and build innovative organizations for the 21st century.

Creative City Summit 2014: Love Your City – Transforming Communities Through Culture

Hamilton, Ontario, 11-13 June, 2014
Through interactive sessions, case studies and keynote addresses, experts will share real world projects that are transforming cities across the country. The 2014 Summit theme focuses on communities that are creating conditions in which culture can thrive.  Presenters will explore how leadership, innovative thinking, partnership building, and simply doing things differently can lead to a creative community. Delegates will gain insight into integrating culture within other local planning initiatives; encouraging and stimulating “eventful” cities; planning community wide participatory events; initiating creative placemaking projects; and creating cultural hubs in their community.

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