The IPL newsletter: Volume 14, Issue 291

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.


Ontario’s New Public-Private Fund of Funds Could Raise $300M

Department of Finance Canada
Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Gary Goodyear recently announced the establishment of Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, a private sector-led fund of funds and a key element of the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP). The Fund, the first fund of funds established under the VCAP, had its initial closing with $217.5 million in commitments, of which $145 million is from institutional and corporate investors, and $36.3 million is from each of the Governments of Canada and Ontario. The Fund has an overall target size of $300 million.

Congress Appropriates $10M for Regional Innovation Program

The FY14 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed recently and the U.S. Senate is expected to pass, contains $10 million for the Regional Innovation program in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s budget. This is the first time the grant portion of the program was directly funded.  The program was authorized in the America COMPETES Act of 2010 and establishes the program “to encourage and support the development of regional innovation strategies, including regional innovation clusters and science and research parks.”

President Obama Announces New Public-Private Manufacturing Innovation Institute

Power electronics got a boost from President Obama as he recently announced that a new manufacturing innovation institute, called The Next Generation Power Electronics Institute, will be located in North Carolina. The winning consortium, led by North Carolina State University and headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, includes the State of North Carolina and 18 companies and 7 universities and labs. The new institute is focused on enabling the next generation of energy-efficient, high-power electronic chips and devices by making wide bandgap semiconductor technologies cost-competitive with current silicon-based power electronics in the next five years. These improvements will make power electronic devices like motors, consumer electronics, and devices that support our power grid faster, smaller, and more efficient.

President Urges the Expansion of National Manufacturing Network in the State of the Union Address

In his fifth State of the Union address, President Barack Obama touted the administration’s Institutes of Manufacturing Innovation program as central to its plan to reinvigorate the American economy. The president called on Congress to expand the manufacturing network beyond the two existing institutes in Ohio and North Carolina and the six additional institutes to be rolled out in 2014. He also requested legislative action to undo last year’s sequester-related cuts to basic research, to pass patent reform and to improve U.S. STEM education. President Obama, however, was able to announce that his administration would launch two new Institutes of Manufacturing Innovation in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation in the coming months, followed by four additional institutes later this year.

Editor's Pick

Trends in Tech-Based Economic Development: Local, State and Federal Action, 2013

Each year, SSTI takes a look back at the past year’s activities in technology-based economic development (TBED) and examines the environment to illustrate trends and put it all into perspective. A slow yet stable national economic recovery in the U.S. gave rise to many new initiatives across states and regions with a shift toward targeted and refined investments in the high-tech economy for quicker returns — a continued trend from 2012. Some of the thematic areas to see considerable activity in 2013 included efforts to expand research capacity and commercialize research, promote crowdfunding, invest in knowledge-based industries, support specialized workforce training, and strengthen industry clusters. The report provides an outline of trends in nine thematic areas: (1) Expanding research capacity and commercialization research; (2) Increasing access to capital; (3) Tax incentives; (4) Accelerators and tech hubs; (5) Higher education policy; (6) University reorganization; (7) Investing in a skilled workforce; (8) Federal activity; and (9) Transparency.

Innovation Policy

Financing R&D and Innovation for Corporate Growth: What New Evidence Should Policy-Makers Know?

European Commission Joint Research Center 
This policy brief relies on the results of a recent European Conference entitled “Financing R&D and innovation for corporate growth in the EU: Strategies, drivers and barriers”. It presents recent empirical evidence and attempts to draw a number of policy relevant messages to be brought to the attention of policymakers.

Enhancing Europe’s Competitiveness: Fostering Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe

World Economic Forum 
Faced with strong global competition and high labour costs, Europe needs to reinvent itself. It will be able to generate sustainable and significant growth only through a relentless focus on a knowledge economy and on enhancing the environment for high value-added innovation-driven entrepreneurship. This intermediate report draws on contributions from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Forum’s Europe, Investors, New Champions and Competitiveness communities and the Network of Global Agenda Councils. The report presents draft analysis and a high-level agenda designed to contribute to Europe’s future competitiveness and growth by encouraging new, innovation-driven ventures to be envisaged, created and scaled. It concludes with a proposed European agenda for supporting entrepreneurship, which emphasises the need to focus on key criteria for success, connect diverse stakeholders and inspire new public-private-civic partnerships across the region.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

A Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the Tale of Two Cities: The Role and Position of the Biotechnology Industry Cluster in Guangdong Province, China

Peter Hanel et al. CIRST 
This paper examines to what extent industrial applications of biotechnology have contributed to transformation of Guangdong’s industrial structure from labour-intensive, low value-added export oriented activities into to a high tech, high-value added knowledge-based economy.

California’s Position in Science and Technology: A Comparative Benchmark Assessment

Kevin Klowden and Kristen Keough, Miliken Institute 
California continues to improve its high-tech growth and remains the most important state for science and technology. Despite this, the state faces a number of challenges to remain economically competitive. Investing in human capital must be of top priority for California, whose performance in technology and science dropped from third in 2012 to fourth place nationwide, the same spot it held in 2010. This latest California-specific report investigates the factors behind this decline. The index, the Institute’s fifth since 2002, is a bellwether of the state’s economic performance, which relies heavily on its vital tech and science assets.

Statistics & Indicators

Money Tree Report – Venture Capital Investment Activity in the United States

PriceWaterhouse Coopers and the National Venture Capital Association
Venture capitalists invested $29.4 billion in 3,995 deals in 2013, an increase of 7 percent in dollars and a 4 percent increase in deals over the prior year, according to this report, based on data from Thomson Reuters.  In Q4 2013, $8.4 billion went into 1,077 deals. Internet-specific companies captured $7.1 billion in 2013, marking the highest level of Internet investment since 2001.  Additionally, annual investments into the Software industry also reached the highest level since 2000 with $11.0 billion flowing into 1,523 deals in 2013.  Dollars going into Software companies accounted for 37 percent of total venture capital invested in 2013, the highest percentage since the inception of the MoneyTree Report in 1995.

InfoBrief – Federal Budget Authority for R&D Declines in FYs 2012 and 2013; Increase Proposed for FY 2014

Mark Boroush, NCSES 
New data indicate that federal budget authority for research and development and R&D plant together in FY 2012 totaled $143.7 billion (current dollars). The corresponding figure for FY 2013 was an estimated $133.5 billion, a decline of 7.1% from 2012. Although the budget authority total had been declining yearly since FY 2011, this sizable drop in FY 2013 stemmed from across-the-board spending cuts (sequestration) mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. For FY 2014, total budget authority for R&D and R&D plant proposed by President Obama would rise to $144.4 billion – restoring a majority of the reduction (at least in current dollars) since FY 2010. The specifics of the federal budget for FY 2014 remain in debate in the Congress as this report is published.

Policy Digest

How to Maximize Innovation Potential?

Rene Wintjes, UNU-MERIT 
This report looks at a range of new business, organizational and production models. These include successful new ways in which companies organize themselves, produce goods and services, and create new markets. Based on 12 case studies, the report highlights common issues and major trends before giving a raft of policy recommendations. The idea behind this approach is that good policy can increase the socio-economic impact of innovations and scale up successes. The case studies examine among other things how advanced manufacturing technologies are changing company production processes, for example via “smart” value chains or environmental friendly technologies. Other case studies address public-private partnerships, big data, workplace innovations, and online peer-to-peer business models.

The Trend of New Business and Production Models

New business, organizational and production models refers to successful new ways in which companies produce goods and services, new ways to organize and new ways to serve and create markets. Under this (in short) New Models trend, several trends, models and practices have been analyzed in case studies. Several case studies analyze how Advanced Manufacturing Technologies changes the way in which companies produce, e.g. in Smart Value Chains or by using environmental friendly technologies. Other case studies address: Public Private Partnerships, Big data, Workplace Innovations, or on-line peer-to-peer business models. Although the batch of case studies includes a variety of trends, models and practices, several of them are interlinked and overlapping.

Through this analysis a common theme has emerged: Innovative and successful trend driving companies have developed innovative solutions which address challenges of other companies and society at large. The case-study companies offer solutions (e.g. advanced manufacturing technologies, tools for Big Data or software for organisational changes) to customers. By using the solutions these (business and public sector) customers adopt new business and production models. More demand for, and implementation of these existing innovative solutions would scale-up the macro-level socio-economic impact, in terms of both economic competitiveness and in terms of addressing societal challenges.

Unlocking the potential of the analysed trends depends to a large extent on ways to promote the wider uptake of the
solutions and scaling up the use of the New Models. The major barrier is on the demand-side, in the form of conservatism, scepticism, and a lack of understanding the trend, the technologies and the benefits among potential clients. These clients are mainly other companies, but also public procurement officers, or consumers (which might for instance be hesitant to shop on-line). Many companies fear disruptive changes and unknown consequences of adopting new business and production models.


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.

CFP – Second International ZEW Conference on the Dynamics of Entrepreneurship (CoDE II) 

Mannheim, Germany, 22-23 May, 2014
The formation, growth and exit of firms are crucial for innovation, employment and structural change in modern economies. The aim of this conference is to discuss recent scientific contributions on the interdependencies between finance, human capital, innovation activities and investment activities of young firms. Papers introducing recent theoretical, econometric and policy-oriented studies from all areas of the entrepreneurship research management are invited.

CFP – Mapping Culture: Communities, Sites and Stories 

Cimbra, Portugal, 28-30 May, 2014
The Centre for Social Studies (Centro de Estudos Sociais – CES), a State Associate Laboratory at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, is calling for the submission of papers and panel/workshop proposals from academics, researchers, public administrators, architects, planners and artists for an international conference and symposium. The CES is committed to questions of public interest, including those involving relationships between scientific knowledge and citizens’ participation.

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.