The IPL newsletter: Volume 14, Issue 294

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.


Strenghtening Ontario’s Business Climate: Government Would Further Reduce Burdens and Build Regional Clusters

Government of Ontario 
Ontario is strengthening the province’s business climate by introducing legislation that would, if passed, help reduce red tape for business and create cluster development plans to help drive regional economic growth and create jobs. The legislation would, if passed, require the government to report annually on burden reduction. The legislation would allow government, in consultation with business, academia, other levels of government, labour and non-profit organizations to develop plans for regional economic clusters.  Through the creation of cluster development plans, Ontario would be better positioned to attract investment in key sectors from aerospace to food processing.

CANARIE and Association of University Research Parks Canada Partner to Support Rapid Commercialization of Research

CANARIE, a vital component of Canada’s digital infrastructure supporting research, education and innovation, and the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) Canada, a national association representing 26 research and technology parks across Canada, today announced a partnership to exploit ICT technologies in an effort to enhance collaboration between industry and academia and to encourage innovation and economic development across Canada. Through this partnership, AURP Canada will provide a white-label offering of CANARIE’s Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program to strengthen commercialization opportunities for the nearly 1,400 knowledge based businesses located in research and technology parks. DAIR provides free cloud-based compute, network and storage resources for small businesses to develop, test, prototype and demonstrate next-generation products.

Governor General of Canada Officially Opens Canadian-led Accelerator in India

The new India-based incubator, the BIL-Ryerson DMZ India, will assist entrepreneurs to fast-track their startups and connect with mentors, customers and investors. It is located at the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute and is built upon Ryerson’s model for its successful Digital Media Zone incubator in Toronto. The collaboration between BIL,Ryerson and RFI lays the groundwork to help young entrepreneurs expand into both the Indian and Canadian markets and also touches on a broad spectrum of areas in the domain of entrepreneurship development and professional development education.

Editor's Pick

Nations and the Wealth of Cities: A New Phase in Public Policy

Greg Clark and Greg Clark, Centre for London 
From the 1970s onwards, with the rapid decline of many of the industries on which developed cities had long depended, Western governments tended to focus on centrally funded programs aimed at arresting decline and regenerating run down areas. However, as national and state-level governments show a growing appreciation of the economic importance of their cities, so they are taking a more strategic approach to their development. We are seeing more and more examples of governments from around the globe focusing on ‘city systems’ and providing a strong national platform for city development – infrastructure investment, macro-economic policy, tax and regulatory reform – whilst devolving power and responsibility to cities themselves. The approach taken by the UK’s Coalition government are in many respects a good illustration of this new phase in public policy, encouraging cross-departmental coordination on city issues and investing in infrastructure projects that will connect cities, while negotiating ’deals’ with individual cities that will result in a fundamental shift in the balance of power from national to city government.

Innovation Policy

March of the Modern Makers: An Industrial Strategy for the Creative Industries

Will Straw and Nigel Warner, IPPR
In recent years the creative industries have become an increasingly significant part of the UK economy and labour market: they are growing faster than almost any other sector, and represent a major comparative advantage. In so far as there is a ‘march of the makers’, the creative industries are the modern makers. Despite their strong performance and global position, the UK’s creative industries have been largely overlooked in the government’s recent moves towards developing an industrial strategy. This is a mistake: both the sector and the country at large would benefit greatly from the government adopting a more coherent and strategic approach in this area. As a source of high-skilled, high value-added jobs, the creative industries represent an opportunity for Britain to win the global ‘race to the top’, and to make the overall economy more dynamic and competitive by further developing the numerous creative centres that already exist across the country, rather than continuing to focus on London. Drawing connections between many different policy areas, this report examines how better investment, commissioning policies, tax reliefs, copyright law, digital infrastructure, workforce development and training, regional support and export promotion could maximize the UK’s existing comparative strengths across the creative industries.

Promoting Research Excellence: New Approaches to Funding

National research systems face an increasingly competitive environment for ideas, talent and funds, and governments have shifted funds from institutional core funding to project funding, often on a competitive basis, or reward success in raising third-party funds in performance-based funding schemes. It is in this context that “research excellence initiatives” (REIs) have emerged. This is an instrument designed to encourage outstanding research by providing large-scale, long-term funding to designated research units. They provide funds for research and research-related measures, such as the improvement or extension of physical infrastructure, the recruitment of outstanding researchers from abroad and researcher training. This report presents new evidence on how governments steer and fund public research in higher education and public research institutions through REIs. The report can help inform discussions on future government policy directions by providing information on how REIs work and on the functioning and characteristics of institutions that host centres of excellence. The findings show some of the benefits to be gained through REIs and note some pitfalls to be avoided.

Designing a Global Trading System to Maximize Innovation

Robert Atkinson, Global Policy
In an article for the peer-reviewed journal Global Policy, Robert Atkinson argues that major reforms are required to maximize global innovation.  Innovation industries are different than other industries and because of these differences maximizing the production of innovation globally requires the presence of large markets, limited “artificial” competition, and strong IP protection. The article lays out a policy agenda to enhance these conditions.

U.S. Budget Request Highlights

While President Obama’s FY15 budget request is unlikely to find much support in Congress this year, the document has traditionally served as a useful guide to the administration’s priorities and to federal programs related to research, regional economic development, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and STEM education.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Too Big, Yet Too Small: The Mixed Lagacy of Montreal and Toronto Amalgamations

Zachary Spicer
As both Toronto and Montréal emerge from local governance crises, the paper looks back at another highly contentious period in Canada’s two biggest cities. The advocates of amalgamation promised fewer politicians and more efficient government. The provinces went ahead with the forced mergers despite fierce resistance from local communities. Since then, the paths taken by both cities have been different. Amalgamation stuck in Toronto, whereas Montréal experienced ‘de-amalgamations’ and other tumultuous reforms. The paper looks at the impacts on costs, equity among residents, local democracy, and regional coordination. The most significant legacy was cities that were “too big” to be locally responsive, “yet too small” to be able to coordinate critical metropolitan services like transit

Statistics & Indicators

The Metropolitan eXplorer

The Metropolitan Explorer is a data and visualization tool that compares the performance of 275 metropolitan areas in OECD countries on a number of key indicators, including population, economic performance, and the environment.

Higher Education Earnings Premium: Value, Variation and Trends

Urban Institute
Postsecondary education leads to significant financial benefits for most students, and average earnings premiums have grown over time. However, there is considerable variation in outcomes across individuals, types of credentials, occupations, and geographical locations. This brief discusses some of the different ways the financial benefits of higher education can be measured and documents the high average payoff to college degrees. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing that this high payoff does not eliminate disappointing outcomes for some individuals, while highlighting the fact that focusing on recent college graduates leads to under-estimation of the returns.

Policy Digest

Ontario Made: Rethinking Manufacturing in the 21st Century

The Mowat Centre
While manufacturing is going through an enormous global transformation, many industries in Ontario have not kept up. Unless governments and the private sector understand and appreciate the forces at play and act quickly, it is likely that Ontario’s manufacturing sector will continue to suffer. This paper provides an overview of the future of the manufacturing sector in Ontario. It describes the current state of our province’s manufacturing sector, explains why it has been experiencing challenges and outlines a strategy for renewal. While the Ontario manufacturing sector is at a crossroads, many of the crucial elements for success are already present in Ontario. Part of the choice facing Ontario will be what kind of manufacturing sector we seek to cultivate. The report  outlines strategies and policy instruments for building a healthy sector based on Ontario’s comparative advantages.

Ontario’s manufacturing sector was once the bedrock of the province’s economy. But over the past decade the sector has lost some 300,000 jobs and its share of GDP has declined sharply. Whereas in 2002 the sector accounted for 8.9 per cent of Canada’s GDP and 21.7 per cent of Ontario’s, it now accounts for just 4.9 per cent and 12.7 per cent respectively. Many communities across the province have felt the hardship of factory doors closing for good.

Ontario is not alone among developed economies in having a manufacturing sector that faces significant challenges. Compared to peer jurisdictions in the US, the decline in employment has been similar, while the decline in output in Ontario over the past 15 years has been steeper.

Even though there has been modest recovery in some American states in recent years, these gains are too small to signify a ‘renaissance’ in US manufacturing employment.

Some of the decline in employment and output is to be expected and merely reflects the ongoing shift from goods-producing to service industries being experienced across OECD countries. But there are other explanations for the challenges in the Ontario manufacturing sector.

The composition of Canada’s exports has changed dramatically. The country was once a net exporter of manufactured goods. Today, our exports are more likely to be natural resources and Canada’s overall balance of trade tells a striking story.

Ontario’s “terms of trade” are no longer favourable. The rapid increase in the value of the Canadian dollar over the past decade has represented an enormous challenge to many Ontario manufacturers, as their goods became more expensive to foreign customers. The rise in global competition means that maintaining a competitive cost structure is crucial to attracting new investments and retaining current plants. Although the recent drop in the value of the Canadian dollar will help somewhat, there are other forces that need to be addressed.

Manufacturing is going through an enormous global transformation. Many industries in Ontario have not kept up. Unless governments and the private sector understand and appreciate the forces at play and act quickly, it is likely that Ontario’s manufacturing sector will continue to suffer.

This summary report provides an overview of a longer, one-year research effort on the future of the manufacturing sector in Ontario (see Ontario Made: Rethinking Manufacturing in the 21st Century-Full Report). The purpose of this summary brief is to describe the current state of the manufacturing sector in Ontario, to explain why it has been experiencing challenges and to outline out a strategy for renewal. To do so, policy maker need a clear understanding of why Ontario has experienced job losses and where manufacturing is headed globally.

While the Ontario manufacturing sector is at a crossroads, many of the crucial elements for success are already present in Ontario. It should be pointed out that even referring to the “manufacturing sector,” while necessary, is in part a misnomer because the sector is very diverse with different sub-sectors experiencing different opportunities and challenges. Part of the choice facing Ontario will be what kind of manufacturing sector it seeks to cultivate. This paper will outline strategies and policy instruments for building a healthy sector based on Ontario’s comparative advantages.


Cities Consortium – Comptitiveness, Liveability and Creative Economy of Cities Conference 

Toronto, 18-19 April, 2014
The conference is a forum for young faculty, emerging students and scholars who are engaged in research related to the competitiveness, liveability and creative economy of cities in India. The conference brings together individuals from around the world to share and discuss their research. In particular, the small and focused setting provides participants with the opportunity to present their work, receive feedback, refine and develop research methods and joing an ongoing network of collaboration and exchange.

Budget 2014: Re-balancing Innovation Support Programs

Ottawa, 22-23 April, 2014
The 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.

GCIF Global Cities Summit 

Toronto, 15-16 May, 2014
The GCIF Global Cities Summit will take place May 15th and 16th, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. Leaders from GCIF’s network of cities, business leaders, senior government officials, scholars, and planning & design professionals will participate in this global event.

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.

Industry Studies Association Annual Conference

Portland, Oregon, 27-30 May, 2014
The Industry Studies Annual Conference draws scholars from a wide range of disciplines who present findings from research at the cutting edge of the academic literature in their areas of specialization. Research presented at the conferences very often focuses on issues of immediate interest to industry and public policy.

Photonics North 2014

Montreal, 28-30 May, 2014
This year’s conference sessions include: Green photonics, energy and related technologies; Optical communications; Optoelectronics and integrated optics; Photonic materials; Nonlinear optics, nanophotonics and quantum optics; Photonic sensors and biomedical optics and more.

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.