The IPL newsletter: Volume 14, Issue 292

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.


Federal Budget Strengthens University Research with New Funding

University research was a big winner in a federal budget that kept its promise to offer modest spending increases overall at a time of restrained economic growth for Canada. The $1.5 billion awarded to a new research excellence fund over 10 years is the centrepiece of several research funding commitments in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2014 budget, tabled in Parliament Feb. 11. The budget also raised the base budgets of the three major federal research granting councils by $37 million, mainly for untargeted research, and gave a $9-million boost to the program that contributes to universities’ indirect costs of doing research.

Government of Canada Supports Business-Led Research Networks

Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada 
Four research networks have been awarded $49.7 million over five years to address industry R&D challenges related to ultra-deep mining, green aviation, personalized cancer treatment and sustainable electronics manufacturing. The funding, which is the result of the most recent competition for the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) program, was announced recently in Sudbury by the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario).

BDC Launches Four New Awards to Recognize the Entrepreneurs Who are Building Canada’s Future

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) 
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) recently announced the launch of four new awards that will promote and recognize Canadian entrepreneurs in four key areas: mentorship, innovation, resiliency and serial entrepreneurship. These awards are in addition to the 2014 edition of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award, a contest where entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 are invited to present a turning point their company has reached and the solution they propose to take their business to the next level.

Editor's Pick

2014 Silicon Valley Index

Joint Venture Silicon Valley
The Silicon Valley Index is a nationally recognized publication that has been telling the Silicon Valley story since 1995. Released by Joint Venture and Silicon Valley Community Foundation every February, the indicators measure the strength of the economy and the health of the community–highlighting challenges and providing an analytical foundation for decision making. The analysis shows the most impressive gains in commercial development in a decade, a 52 percent increase in foreign immigration and the highest net migration in 14 years. But the data also indicates that the new wave of prosperity poses greater challenges for the region to accommodate sustained growth and that the gains are bypassing the lowest earning groups, leaving the less affluent further behind than ever.

Innovation Policy

Federally Supported Innovations: 22 Examples of Major Technology Advances the Stem from Federal Research Support

Peter L. Singer, ITIF 
he report examines 22 cases of successful U.S. innovation in which the development of key foundational technologies stemmed at least in part from federal investment in research and development (R&D). The cases cover technologies developed across a wide range of fields over the past half century, from information and communications technology, energy, and healthcare to transportation, agriculture, and mathematics. The report explains how federal support for R&D is critically important to today’s innovation system, including because of its investment in research and in technologies too far from market for the private sector to invest in, and because federal investment in R&D complements and spurs additional private sector R&D investment. It concludes by arguing that if the United States wishes to regain the world lead in terms of innovation (as a share of its economy) it will need to expand, not contract, federal support for R&D, which means reversing the sequestration cuts to federal R&D scheduled to return in FY 2015.

The Future of Science and Innovation Policy: UK-IRC Innovation Summit Proceedings

This year was the fifth UK~IRC Innovation Summit, which was held at the Conference Centre of the British Library in London. The one day conference explored how research, policy and business practices influence science and innovation policy, and what steps should be taken to strengthen these links. The event also looked to focus on a lot of the research work that the UK~IRC has undertaken in the last five years. The event coincided with a new research report being published from the UK~IRC. The event report and audio of some of the sessions are available on the summit website.

Quality of Government and Innovative Performance in the Regions of Europe

Andres Rodriguez-Pose and Marco Di-Cataldo, Utrecht University
Although it has frequently been argued that the quality of institutions affects the innovative potential of a territory, the link between institutions and innovation remains a black box. This paper aims to shed light on how institutions shape innovative capacity, by focusing on how regional government quality affects innovative performance in the regions of Europe. By exploiting new data on quality of government (QoG), it assesses how government quality and its components (control of corruption, rule of law, government effectiveness and government accountability) shape patenting capacity across the regions of the European Union (EU). The results of the analysis provide strong evidence of a causal link between the quality of local governments and the capacity of territories to generate innovation. In particular, low quality of government becomes a fundamental barrier for the innovative capacity of the periphery of the EU, strongly undermining any potential effect of any other measures aimed at promoting greater innovation. The results have important implications for the definition of innovation strategies in EU regions.

Tech Trends 2014

Each year, this report studies the ever-evolving technology landscape, focusing on disruptive trends that are transforming business, government, and society. Once again, it addresses10 topics that have the opportunity to impact organizations across industries, geographies, and sizes over the next 18 to 24 months. The theme of this year’s report is Inspiring Disruption. It discusses 10 trends that exemplify the unprecedented potential for emerging technologies to reshape how work gets done, how businesses grow, and how markets and industries evolve. These disruptive technologies challenge CIOs to anticipate their potential organizational impacts. And while today’s demands are by no means trivial, these trends offer CIOs the opportunity to shape tomorrow—to inspire others, to create value, and to transform “business as usual.”

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Beyond Metropolitan Startup Rates: Regional Factors Associated with Startup Growth

Yasuyuki Motoyama and Jordan Bell-Masterson, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Understanding what fosters—and hinders—firm formation and growth at the metropolitan level across the United States is a challenge. Entrepreneurship can be measured by a variety of indicators, and they each can tell somewhat different stories. Furthermore, because entrepreneurship can refer to the growth of firms from a startup stage to mid- or large-scale, no one dataset covers the full range of companies that fall in this category. This report contributes to the Kauffman Foundation’s recent series of analyses on the rate of business creation in metropolitan areas. Going beyond identifying metropolitan areas with higher rates of entrepreneurship, it analyzes what regional factors are associated, or unassociated, with entrepreneurial activity. Understanding what drives entrepreneurship at the regional level—especially high-growth business creation—will help policymakers and entrepreneurship supporters know where to invest their efforts.

Statistics & Indicators

Insights from International Benchmarking of the UK Science and Innovation System

Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
This report identifies the UK’s strengths and weaknesses and indicates the priority areas that need to be addressed for capturing the maximum benefits from science and innovation. The findings of this report are intended to provide a basis for future discussion with the science, research, innovation, higher and further education and business communities on the future shape and scale of the UK’s science and innovation system.

Policy Digest

What a City Needs to Foster Innovation

Bruce Katz and Julie Wagner, The Brookings Institution (originally published on Quartz)
Once upon a time, innovation was an isolationist sport. In America’s innovative economy 20 years ago, a worker drove to a nondescript office campus along a suburban corridor, worked in isolation, and kept ideas secret. Today, by contrast and partly a result of the Great Recession, proximity is everything. Talented people want to work and live in urban places that are walkable, bike-able, connected by transit, and hyper-caffeinated. Major companies across multiple sectors are practicing “open innovation” and want to be close to other firms, research labs, and universities. Entrepreneurs want to start their companies in collaborative spaces, where they can share ideas and have efficient access to everything from legal advice to sophisticated lab equipment.

These disruptive forces are coming to ground in small, primarily urban enclaves—what we and others are calling “innovation districts.” Per the author’s definition, innovation districts cluster and connect leading-edge institutions with startups and spin-off companies, business incubators, and accelerators in the relentless pursuit of cutting-edge discoveries for the market. Compact, transit-accessible, and highly networked, they grow talent, foster open collaboration, and offer mixed-used housing, office, retail, and 21st century urban amenities. In many respects, the rise of innovation districts embodies the very essence of cities: an aggregation of talented, driven people assembled in close quarters, who exchange ideas and knowledge. It’s in the vein of what urban historian Sir Peter Hall calls “a dynamic process of innovation, imitation and improvement.”

Globally, Montreal, Seoul, Singapore, Medellin, Barcelona, Cambridge, and Berlin offer just a few examples of evolving innovation districts. In the US, the most iconic innovation districts can be found in the downtowns and midtowns of cities like Atlanta, Cambridge, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and St. Louis, where advanced research universities, medical complexes, research institutions, and clusters of tech and creative firms are sparking business expansion, as well as residential and commercial growth. Even a cursory visit to Kendall Square in Cambridge, University City in Philadelphia, or midtown Atlanta shows the explosion of growth and mixed development occurring around institutions like MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgia Tech.

Other innovation districts can be found in Boston, Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Seattle, where former industrial and warehouse areas are charting a new innovative path, powered by their enviable location along transit lines, their proximity to downtowns and waterfronts, and their recent addition of advanced research institutions (reflected by Carnegie Mellon University’s decision to place its Integrative Media Program at the Brooklyn Navy Yard).

Perhaps the greatest validation of this shift is found in the efforts of traditional exurban science parks (like Research Triangle Park in Raleigh-Durham) to urbanize, in order to keep pace with the preferences of their workers for walkable communities and the preference of their firms to be near other firms and collaborative opportunities.

Innovation districts are already attracting an eclectic mix of firms in a diverse group of sectors, including life sciences, clean energy, design, and tech. We even see a return of small-scale and customized manufacturing, made possible by 3D printing, robotics, and other advanced techniques.

Unlike efforts to grow the “consumer city” via sports stadia, luxury housing, and high-end retail, innovation districts are intent on growing the firms, networks, and sectors that drive real, broad-based prosperity.

At a time of increasing concerns over inequality and resilience, innovation districts can spur productive, inclusive, and sustainable growth. If properly structured and scaled, they can provide a strong foundation for the commercialization of ideas, the expansion of firms, and the creation of jobs. They also offer the tantalizing prospect of expanding employment and educational opportunities for disadvantaged populations—many innovation districts are close to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods—as well as sparking more sustainable development patterns, given their embrace of transit, historic buildings, traditional street grids, and existing infrastructure.

Innovation districts represent one of the most positive trends that have emerged in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Smart cities, innovative companies, advanced universities, and financial institutions would be wise to embrace them.


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.

Smart to Future Cities 2014

London, 29-30 April, 2014
At Smart to Future Cities 2013, the emphasis was on how the market is at an inflection point between talking about what “smart city” means and understanding how to implement it. The evidence of the shift was in the increasing maturity of the demand side, the development of standards, and the arrival of investment in the form of stimulus funding from government, sovereign wealth funds, and venture capital. In 2014 we will be looking at the move of Smart Cities into the mainstream as we see governments commit finance and policy to smart city development, deployments of smart city protocols and operating platforms and acceptance of smart technologies as the norm in transport, energy, development, assisted living and security in cities.

CFP – The Organization, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research

Torino, Italy, 19-20 May, 2014
The aim of the workshop is to bring together a small group of scholars interested in the analysis of the production and diffusion of scientific research from an economics, historical, organizational, and policy perspective. As in previous years, 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 2011 or later). The workshop aims at including papers form various streams of research developed in recent years in and around the area of public and private scientific research. 

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.

DRUID Society Conference 2014: Entrepreneurship-Organization-Innovation 

Copenhagen, Denmark, 16-18 June. 2014
he conference will include a number of distinguished plenary presenters and intends to map theoretical, empirical and methodological advances, contribute with novel insights, clarify and develop intellectual positions and help identify common grounds and lines of division in selected current scientific controversies within the field. In 2014, the DRUID Special Flavor will be on Food Innovation. During the last decade, the food industry has seen notable innovation and entrepreneurship throughout its value chain, including, for example, search for original raw materials, adaption of advanced process technologies, exploration of new cooking methods and development of unique restaurant models. DRUID2014 will feature scientific as well as social activities reflecting Food Innovation, including paper sessions on innovation and entrepreneurship in the food industry, talks by leading chefs, and samples of innovative food and drink. With its New Nordic Cuisine, a burst of new Michelin-starred restaurants, and capturing the World’s Best Restaurant as well as Bocuse d’Or awards for several consecutive years, Copenhagen has established itself at the heart of food innovation. In addition, there is a broader movement around the notions of regional and modernist cuisine. The DRUID Society will of course take advantage of its local connections to present conference participants with samples of just how innovative the local food scene can be.

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