The IPL newsletter: Volume 17, Issue 348

News from the IPL


Max Blouw to Serve as Chair for Expert Panel on the State of Science and Technology (S&T) and Industrial Research and Development (IR&D) in Canada

Council of Canadian Academies 
The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) is pleased to announce Dr. Max Blouw, President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, as Chair of the newly appointed Expert Panel on the State of Science and Technology (S&T) and Industrial Research and Development (IR&D) in Canada. Dr. Blouw will lead the CCA Expert Panel to assess the available evidence about the current state of science and technology in Canada and deliver its final report by late 2017. Members of the panel include experts from different fields of academic research, R&D, innovation, and research administration. The depth of the Panel’s experience and expertise, paired with the CCA’s rigorous assessment methodology, will ensure the most authoritative, credible, and independent response to the question.

Editor's Pick

Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Executive Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology
As a contribution toward preparing the United States for a future in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a growing role, this report surveys the current state of AI, its existing and potential applications, and the questions that are raised for society and public policy by progress in AI. It also makes recommendations for specific further actions by Federal agencies and other actors.

Innovation Policy

Maximizing the Local Economic Impact of Federal R&D

Scott Andes, Brookings
In the middle of the 20th century, members of Congress and the voters who elected them saw federal R&D as a necessary condition for achieving important national objectives like space exploration, disease eradication, and addressing looming energy crises. Today, for many Americans, these missions have taken a back seat to the growing demand for high economic returns-on-investment.  State legislators, mayors, governors, and members of Congress rally when the possibility of a military base closure threatens jobs, but they are silent when cuts in research funds for the national laboratories and universities within their jurisdiction undermine regional innovation, jobs, and growth. To maximize and make apparent the economic returns from R&D, the next administration should seek to improve the local economic impact of federal R&D.

The National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan

National Science and Technology Council, Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Subcommittee
This report establishes a set of objectives for Federally-funded AI research, both research occurring within the government as well as Federally-funded research occurring outside of government, such as in academia. The ultimate goal of this research is to produce new AI knowledge and technologies that provide a range of positive benefits to society, while minimizing the negative impacts.

Waterloo Innovation Summit 2016 – Post-Summit Report: Escaping the Low-Growth Trap

How can we thrive in a low-growth environment? This year’s Waterloo Innovation Summit brought together industry, academia and policy makers to tackle one of today’s toughest challenges: fostering innovation in a tough economic climate. But the conversation doesn’t end now that the Summit is over. This report encapsulates the shared expertise from three days of conversation. This great resource covers everything from teams, talent and scale to taking the long view. The report also includes the next steps that companies, universities and governments can put into action now.

Digitalization, Deindustrialization, and the Future of Work

Thor Berger and Carl Benedikt Frey, OECD
In tandem with the diffusion of computer technologies, labour markets across the OECD have undergone rapid structural transformation. In this paper, the authors examine i) the impact of technological change on labour market outcomes since the computer revolution of the 1980s, and ii) recent developments in digital technology – including machine learning and robotics – and their potential impacts on the future of work. While it is evident that the composition of the workforce has shifted dramatically over recent decades, in part as a result of technological change, the impacts of digitalisation on the future of jobs are far from certain. On the one hand, accumulating anecdotal evidence shows that the potential scope of automation has expanded beyond routine work, making technological change potentially increasingly labour-saving: according to recent estimates 47 percent of US jobs are susceptible to automation over the forthcoming decades. On the other hand, there is evidence suggesting that digital technologies have not created many new jobs to replace old ones. Nevertheless, at first approximation, there is no evidence to suggest that the computer revolution so far has reduced overall demand for jobs as technologically stagnant sectors of the economy – including health care, government and personal services – continue to create vast employment opportunities. Looking forward, however, this report argues that as the potential scope of automation is expanding, many sectors that have been technologically stagnant in the past are likely to become technologically progressive in the future. While we should expect a future surge in productivity as a result, the question of whether gains from increases in productivity will be widely shared depends on policy responses.

Policy Principles for FinTech

Alan McQuinn, Weining Guo, and Daniel Castro, ITIF
The financial services industry is an information industry, where money is simply a nominal representation of real value (goods or services). Yet, compared with some information industries that reaped disruptive gains from information technology (IT), the financial-services industry has experienced mostly incremental innovation. For example, the creation of the Internet enabled innovators to route voice traffic over Internet Protocol networks, changing telephony from an expensive, intermediary-driven system into the more efficient, globally interconnected system we have today. The financial services industry is potentially at a similar inflection point, where expensive, single-purpose networks and systems are giving way to cheaper, general-purpose ones. This report examines recent technological trends in financial services, offering policy principles that policymakers should follow to increase innovation in financial services to better serve consumers, businesses, and investors.

Harnessing the Cybersecurity Opportunity for Growth: Cybersecurity Innovation and the Financial Services Industry in Ontario

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk 2016 report cites cybersecurity risk as one of the top commercial risks along with geopolitics, the environment, and the economy. Following a string of high-profile cyberattacks, with significant value at risk, and increasingly digitized business models, the financial services industry has been particularly impacted by the imperatives of cybersecurity. Emergent from this heightened risk landscape, however, is opportunity. Opportunity that is driving a new global competitive environment, threatening Ontario’s leadership in cybersecurity innovation and financial services. Recognizing this context, Ontario’s vibrant startup community, and the importance of our financial services cluster in Ontario, the purpose of this study is to understand how to harness the cybersecurity opportunity to position Ontario as a global cybersecurity innovation hub with a focus on the financial services industry.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Building the Innovation Economy: City-Level Strategies for Planning, Placemaking, and Promotion

Catherine Gregory, Urban Land Institute
The innovation economy is proving to be a huge disruptor and opportunity for cities, businesses and the real estate sector. Cities around the world are seeking to accommodate the needs of a new generation of technology powered industries and firms, whose innovation model depends on proximity and whose talent pool explicitly prefer urban locations and lifestyles. Such cities are motivated to host a larger slice of this innovation economy in order to grow a new base of jobs, adjust to the process of industrial change, or to leverage technology for the big challenges of sustainability, resilience, and social cohesion. Many are trying to raise their innovation profile by focusing investment and promotion on new ‘innovation districts’, locations within their city where the innovation economy might cluster and concentrate. This report further explores these topics inspired by the experience and examples of Munich, San Diego and Tel Aviv, and Rotterdam. 

Urban World: Meeting the Demographic Challenge in Cities

Jonathan Woetzel, Jaana Remes, Kevin Coles, and Mekala Krishnan, McKinsey Global Institute
The world’s cities are facing more challenging demographics, and the days of easy growth are over. In the past, city economies expanded largely because their populations were increasing due to high birthrates and mass migration from rural areas. Both of those sources of population growth are now diminishing. Global population growth is slowing because of declining fertility rates and aging. At the same time, rural-to-urban migration is running its course and plateauing in many regions. How cities adjust to the new reality is important not only for their prospects but also for those of nations that will continue to rely on thriving cities for rising prosperity.

Statistics & Indicators

2016 State Technology and Science Index: Sustaining America’s Innovation Economy

Ross DeVol, Joe Lee, and Minoli Ratnatunga, Milken Institute
The State Technology and Science Index (STSI) endeavors to benchmark states on their science and technology capabilities and broader commercialization ecosystems that contribute to company growth, high-value-added job creation, and overall economic growth. The STSI can be seen as a measure of a state’s innovation pipeline. The index isn’t intended to be a measure of immediate economic impact, but rather to demonstrate that the return on science and technology assets will accrue in future years. Along with deep human capital, individuals who recognize entrepreneurial opportunity and have the knowledge and skills to develop it are among the strongest assets a geographical area can have in today’s innovation-based economy.

Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update

Justin Antonipillai and Michelle K. Lee, Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
This report provides an update on the impact of IP on our economy and a fresh look at the approach used to measure those results. The update continues to focus on measuring the intensity of IP use, and its persistent relationship to economic indicators such as employment, wages, and value added. While our methodology does not permit us to attribute those differences to IP alone, the results provide a useful benchmark. Furthermore, this and other studies together make clear that IP is a major part of a robust and growing economy.

Policy Digest

How Technology is Changing Toronto Employment

Tech Toronto
Over the last few years, technology and entrepreneurship have been studied, talked about and promoted as the saviour to all that ails the economy. It’s said that they will create the prosperity and jobs needed to keep Toronto a vibrant world-class city. The researchers at TechToronto believe this to be true, but also believe the average Torontonian doesn’t realize technology has already changed the economy to a great extent. The Internet, mobile technologies, wearables, big data and machine learning have created thousands of new companies and jobs in Toronto. While traditional industries that have powered our economy have shrunk, technology has grown.

This study aims to identify the tech ecosystem’s importance to the Toronto economy; build awareness of the contribution the tech ecosystem has already made to the local economy; and help start the conversation about progress and public policy support for the tech ecosystem in the city.

Toronto’s Tech Ecosystem
A “tech ecosystem” is “a network of organizations that enable the provision of goods or services rather than an isolated, independent industry. For example, the computer systems administrator employed by a hospital’s information technology department is directly employed by the healthcare sector but also needs to be considered in evaluating the complete tech ecosystem.” An ecosystem is classified by the amount of employment and economic benefits which are generated within a specific region. Beyond the traditional view of what constitutes the tech industry, this report also considers the impact of technical jobs in non-tech industries are having on a local economy. This report measures the tech ecosystem using three types of employment:

  • All jobs in the tech industry;
  • All non-tech jobs in tech industries;
  • All tech jobs in non-tech industries.

Toronto tech ecosystem contains a total of 401,000 jobs, which represents 15% of all jobs in the city. Of these, 93,000 jobs are held by self-employed professionals, accounting for 23% of the ecosystem, which is more significant than other industries in Toronto. In comparison to two other significant Toronto industries in 2015, only 4% of the manufacturing workforce was self-employed, and only 8% of the finance and insurance workforce was self-employed.

Public Policy Recommendations
While the Toronto tech ecosystem is the strongest in Canada it can still improve its overall competitiveness and growth rate. The report recommends that the various levels of government adopt the following changes to public policy:

  1. Attraction and Retention
  2. Make Toronto-Waterloo world renowned for fintech and machine learning;
  3. Introduce fast track immigration visas for tech talents;

Workforce and Education

  • Increase enrollment and diversity in post-secondary STEM programs;
  • Pay companies to train and hire re-trained workers;


  • Make housing better and more affordable;
  • Make it easier for tech companies to choose the right accelerator/incubator;

Modernize and harmonize the regulatory environment;

Government Business Support and Procurement

  • Redistribute government funds from incumbent tech companies to scale-ups and start ups;
  • Solve civic problems and strengthen local tech companies via procurement.


2016 Regional Innovation Policies Conference

Cardiff Wales, November 3-4, 2016
Welcome to the 11th Regional Innovation Policies Conference 2016.  For more than a decade the Regional Innovation Policies Conference has been an essential date in the diaries of researchers, policy-makers and practitioners with an interest in the field of regional innovation, regional development and innovation policy.  The conference will feature keynote addresses and parallel sessions on a number of key themes arranged around the central topic of regional innovation, regional development and innovation policy.  The role of regions in innovation debates; the role of innovation in promoting the growth of innovation; the spatial distribution of innovation, and the role of regional policies in both stimulating and harnessing innovation are recurrent themes for the Regional Innovation Policies Conference.

The 2016 Technology Transfer Society Annual Conference

Phoenix, Arizona, 3-5 November, 2016
At least two decades of research show that new knowledge is a critical component of economic and social development.  Recent comprehensive reviews of the technology transfer literature conceptualize university technology transfer in terms of a patent-centric linear model—formal technology transfer—including technology disclosure, patent filing, and licensing.  This paradigm not only overlooks a diversity of practices by technology transfer offices, it also neglects other innovative practices or conceptualizations relating to the creation and exchange of new knowledge. To address the aforementioned gaps, the 2016 T2S Annual meeting will focus on alternative practices, policies, and conceptualizations of knowledge exchange that go beyond formal university technology transfer.  We are especially interested in empirical works that utilize frameworks and methodologies from a variety of disciplines and that utilize a variety of perspectives.

Regional Studies Association Winter Conference 2016 – New Pressures on Cities and Regions

London, UK, 24-25 November, 2016
This conference provides an intellectual and policy-relevant platform for scholars around the world to address the new and emerging challenges facing cities and regions. The global economic slowdown poses major concerns to many territories – through shortfalls in employment, household incomes, corporate profitability and tax revenues. The steel industry has been one of the hardest hit, forcing massive plant closures and redundancies from China to the UK. Austerity in public finances threatens the infrastructure required to lay the foundation for future growth and development. Economic uncertainties and uneven development also contribute to growing social unrest and new waves of international migration. Heightened regulation of the banks and other financial institutions is bound to have an impact on the funding of house-building and other real estate development, with uncertain consequences. Meanwhile the accelerating pace of technological change in many industries and occupations means different skills and capabilities are required of the workforce, causing painful adjustments for many communities. And looming concerns about climate change and accelerating environmental degradation complicate the task of urban and regional revitalization. The 2016 Winter Conference of the Regional Studies Association presents a timely opportunity to discuss these issues, to clarify the research imperatives, and to consider the challenges facing policymakers and practitioners. The conference organizers are keen to attract papers and sessions that address a broad research and policy agenda, including contributions from any discipline which can offer relevant insights into the urban-regional-global nexus.

European Cluster Conference

Brussels, Belgium, 30 November – 2 December, 2016
The fifth edition of the European Cluster Conference will be an inspiring event not to be missed by policy-makers from national and regional authorities involved or interested in cluster policies and cluster practitioners. The last edition of the European Cluster Conference in 2014 gathered over 340 cluster stakeholders from across Europe. As the 2016 edition is limited to 250 participants, early registration is advised – once possible; the registration platform is expected to be open in September. This year’s conference will focus on Cluster 4.0 – Shaping Smart Industries and include high-level plenary speeches, panel discussions and interactive sessions where participants will have the chance to share their experiences and challenges. Parallel discussions will take place in four priority areas related to industrial modernization, namely smart manufacturing and digital transformation, the circular economy, key enabling technologies, and creative and data-driven services. The parallel discussions will all cover the same key horizontal topics in different sessions. These include the role of clusters in boosting the innovation uptake and growth opportunities through strengthening cross-sectoral value chain linkages, strategic European partnering, international collaboration and skills towards shaping smart industries.

CFP: 4th PhD Workshop in Economic of Innovation, Complexity, and Knowledge

Turin, Italy, 15-16 December, 2016
The Vilfredo Pareto Doctorate program of the University of Turin and the BRICK, Collegio Carlo Alberto, are pleased to announce the 4th Doctoral Workshop in Economics of Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge. The aim of the workshop is to bring together PhD students from all over the world working in the broad fields of Economics of Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge. The Workshop will provide participants with a great opportunity to network with peers researching on similar topics and to receive feedback from both junior and senior scholars.

CFP: 11th Workshop on the Organization, Economics, and Policy of Scientific Research

Torino, Italy, 15-16 May, 2017
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. 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. 

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