The IPL newsletter: Volume 18, Issue 359

News from the IPL


4th Annual Creating Digital Opportunity Partnership Network Conference

Montreal, 1-3 May, 2017
With the need to better understand how Canadian information technology firms, digital media content producers and technology users can most effectively participate in the rapidly expanding global digital economy, the research partnership’s goal is to provide a clearer understanding of how Canada can benefit from changes, based on solid research, to help business, governments and communities develop effective strategies for Canada’s digital future.

Editor's Pick

NSF InfoBrief: U.S. Companies Performed $73 Billion in R&D Outside of the United States in 2013

National Science Foundation (NSF)
U.S. companies spent 18 percent of their research and development dollars outside of the United States in 2013. The $73 billion in foreign R&D is concentrated in the information industry, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and automobiles and parts. The United Kingdom and Germany are the two countries receiving the largest amount of foreign R&D performance by U.S. companies, with Europe as a whole representing nearly half of the total. The Asia and Pacific region accounted for another 31 percent, with India and China being the two largest locations in the region for foreign R&D performance.

Innovation Policy

The Power of Innovation

American Energy Innovation Council
Access to reliable, affordable energy has such a profoundly positive impact on people’s lives as to nearly defy calculation. Yet unlike many other technology sectors, the energy sector in particular has suffered from underinvestment in research and development (R&D) for a number of reasons. As a generally low-cost commodity, it is often difficult for an energy supplier to differentiate itself and charge a premium, the way products in other markets like communications hardware or biomedical technologies might. Energy infrastructure and technologies are also generally high cost and long lived, leading to large amounts of inertia and, in some cases, risk avoidance. Further complicating these challenges is the fact that energy markets are highly fragmented and often face a significant amount of regulatory fracturing and uncertainty. Policy makers should embrace America’s unique abilities to innovate as a way to revitalize the economy and enhance security while helping American industry play a stronger role in providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy to the billions around the globe who currently lack it.

Preparing NYC for the Next Wave of Automation

Center for an Urban Future
Emerging technologies have the potential to displace workers in range of New York City industries, from accountants and x-ray technicians to paralegals and taxi drivers. Although many of these changes are still years away, a recent Center for an Urban Future policy symposium discussed the steps that policymakers, business executives, and educational leaders in New York should be taking now to prepare for the oncoming wave of automation.

Patenting Invention: Five Clean Energy Trends Congress Should Know About 

Mark Muro and Devashree Saha, Brookings
Focused on the pace and nature of cleantech invention (a forthcoming analysis will examine venture capital dynamics), this new analysis looks at technology patenting activity as a key indicator of clean energy innovation activity—and the health of the overall low-carbon sector.W hat do the data show? Overall, these numbers provide a mixed picture of a sector at an important juncture that policymakers should take cognizance of and take care not to further disrupt.

Fostering Innovation in the Public Sector

Public sector innovation does not happen by itself: problems need to be identified, and ideas translated into projects that can be tested, implemented and shared. To do so, public sector organizations must identify the processes and structures that can support and accelerate innovation. This report looks at how governments can create an environment that fosters innovation. It discusses the role of government management in inhibiting or enabling innovation, and the role that specific functions such as human resources management and budgeting can play. It suggests ways to support innovation – including by managing information, data and knowledge – as well as strategies for managing risk. Drawing on country approaches compiled and analysed by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, the report presents a framework for collecting and examining data on the ability of central government to foster public sector innovation.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

The Global Crisis and Regional Employment in Europe: The Performance of Sheltered Economies

Ugo Fratesi and Andres Rodriguz-Pose, VOX
Prior to the Great Recession, many European regions witnessed the emergence of economies which were impervious to changes in the business cycle (or ‘sheltered’ economies). We know little about how such regions coped with the Global Crisis. This article argues that regions with more sheltered economies performed worse in terms of employment change after the crisis compared to those with more open economies. Regional policy should focus on making lagging regions more open, dynamic, and competitive.

Statistics & Indicators

10+ Tools to Explore Publicly Available Data

The SSTI receives requests from time-to-time from members looking to better understand their regional economy through data. Though the federal government has long been the largest provider of publicly available data, the mechanisms to explore it have been unwieldy. Now more than ever, users have options for interactive resources to explore government data and help inform decision making around economic development. This Digest article highlights many of the free tools and databases that are available.

2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index

Michelle Jamrisko and Wei Lu, Bloomberg Markets
In the battle of ideas, Sweden climbed to No. 2 and Finland cracked into the top five of this index, which scores economies using factors including research and development spending and the concentration of high-tech public companies. South Korea remained the big winner, topping the international charts in R&D intensity, value-added manufacturing and patent activity and with top-five rankings in high-tech density, higher education and researcher concentration. Scant progress in improving its productivity score — now No. 32 in the world — helps explain why South Korea’s lead narrowed in the past year. Canada is ranked 20th, down one position from the last ranking.


Policy Digest

Why Global Innovation Supply Chains are Going Local

David Wolfe, CIGI

There are increasing signs that large global companies may be shifting their innovation strategies away from a long-standing habit of centralizing their R&D operations close to their home base, and starting to decentralize their innovation activities by tapping into regional sources of expertise in host countries, in the hope of gaining competitive advantage.

If it persists, this emerging trend toward creating a geographically diverse global network of research hubs — each embedded in its own local innovation clusters — has significant implications, not just for business strategy, but for the host countries and regions, such as Canada, that are attempting to accelerate their knowledge-based economies by attracting international investment in higher-value-added activities.

This strategic shift has potential implications for Canada’s traditional weak performance in business sector R&D, where the dominant role of global companies in key sectors has been seen as a major contributor to this underperformance.

While not yet fully captured in the current R&D data, recent indications from both quantitative and qualitative sources suggest that the proportion of business R&D performed by foreign-controlled performers is beginning to shift in relation to domestic performers as global companies are trying to leverage Canadian research capabilities in critical emerging technologies.

This shift poses two related challenges for Canadian innovation policy:

Continuing to attract MNEs to invest in Canada with substantial tax incentives or direct subsidies may be an inefficient use of scarce public resources. Past investments in building the research capabilities and talent base of Canada’s innovation infrastructure appear to provide a more effective inducement to attract new investments by MNEs and to anchor existing MNEs in the national economy. However, great care must be taken to ensure that the talent base is kept in Canada. A more judicious use of limited public funds might be to devote them to the support and growth of indigenous Canadian technology firms that the MNEs want to partner with and that have the potential to compete in global markets.


4th Annual Creating Digital Opportunity Partnership Network Conference

Montreal, 1-3 May, 2017
With the need to better understand how Canadian information technology firms, digital media content producers and technology users can most effectively participate in the rapidly expanding global digital economy, the research partnership’s goal is to provide a clearer understanding of how Canada can benefit from changes, based on solid research, to help business, governments and communities develop effective strategies for Canada’s digital future.

CFP: ZEW/MaCCI Conference on the Economics of Innovation and Patenting

Mannheim, Germany, 15-16 May, 2017
The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) and the Mannheim Centre for Competition and Innovation (MaCCI) are pleased to announce their 7th conference on the economics of innovation and patenting. The goal of the conference is to present new research and to stimulate discussion between international researchers conducting related empirical and theoretical analysis. As a novelty, we will organize a special plenary paper speed dating session. Theoretical, empirical, and policy-oriented contributions from all areas of the economics of innovation and patenting are welcome.

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

Torino, Italy, 18-19 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. 

Regional Studies Association Conference 2017: The Great Regional Awakening – New Directions

Dublin, Ireland, 4-7 June, 2017
A ‘Great Regional Awakening’ is underway. There is a growing realization that regional inequalities have both contributed to, and amplified, the ‘Great Recession’ that shook advanced and emerging economies alike. It is also becoming apparent that the crisis has been having very different impacts spatially. This will only help to further exacerbate uneven economic development, fueling more trouble down the line. In Europe, major economic fault-lines are re-emerging between and within national economies; between the core and the periphery; between urban and rural areas; between city-regions and within cities themselves. This pattern is replicated elsewhere – in advanced, emerging and developing world. There is an urgent need to re-examine all aspects of local and regional development and how it relates to national and international economic dynamics; and to social, political, cultural, technological and environmental processes. Having spent over 50 years advocating more balanced regional development, the Regional Studies Association is now spearheading a major effort to address these pressing issues in such challenging times.


New York, USA, 12-14 June, 2017
DRUID and NYU Stern School of Business are proud to invite senior and junior scholars to participate and contribute with a paper to DRUID17, hosted by NYU Stern in New York. Presenting distinguished plenary speakers, a range of parallel paper sessions, and a highly attractive social program, the conference aims at mapping theoretical, empirical and methodological advances, contributing novel insights, and help identifying scholarly positions, divisions, and common grounds in current scientific controversies within the field. DRUID17 invites paper submissions on innovation, entrepreneurship and other aspects of structural, institutional and geographic change.

Creating and Communicating Knowledge, Practices, and Values: Exploring the Dynamics of Local Anchors and Trans-Local Communities

London, UK, 29 August – 1 September, 2017
Economic geographers have long been interested in the links between local-global economic dynamics (e.g. Bathelt et al., 2004). Within this sphere of interest, focus has been given to so-called ‘local anchors’ as the nodes through which regional, national, or global relations and dynamics function and occur. Specific physical places may, for instance, serve as local anchors for social movements (e.g. the maker movement) (Toombs and Bardzell, 2014), trans-local scenes (e.g. in music) (Hauge and Hracs, 2010; Lange, 2007), global knowledge communities (e.g. communities of enthusiasts) (Brinks and Ibert, 2015; Müller and Ibert, 2015) or global processes of value creation (Berthoin Antal et al., 2015; Pike, 2009; Power and Hauge, 2006). We  observe a wide spectrum of local anchors that help to disseminate ideas and knowledge, enable and encourage participation in specific practices (e.g. tinkering, designing, building), serve as (temporary) productions sites (e.g. local workshops for music) and facilitate curation and consumption (e.g. pop-up stores, record stores). Despite this conceptual variety, these anchors are physical spaces through which economic and social activities occur and that actors utilize for creating objects, artifacts and products and to generate and disseminate ideas, brands and values. These local spaces have also drawn the attention of policymakers striving to capitalize upon local-global dynamics. However, very often these spaces are regarded overly optimistically and lack a critical reflection as to how they actually contribute to social, cultural and / or economic value creation. This session aims to nuance our understanding of the interplay between ‘the global’ and ‘the local’ as well as ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’ spaces. We aim to explore the role of local anchors within local neighborhoods and scenes as well as trans-local scenes, communities and virtual networks. More specifically, the session aims to consider the diversity and specificity of local anchors which may comprise craft collectives, performance venues, records stores (Hracs and Jansson, 2016), coworking / maker/ hacker spaces / open creative labs (Merkel, 2015; Schmidt et al., 2014; Schmidt et al., 2016), universities (Cooke, 2011) and knowledge production sites (Power and Malmberg, 2008).

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

Atlanta, USA, 9-11 October, 2017
The Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy provides a showcase for the highest quality scholarship addressing the multidimensional challenges and interrelated characteristics of science and innovation policy and processes. Spanning three days, the conference will include plenary sessions reflecting different facets of the science and innovation system, presentations of well-developed research, and an early career poster session to allow young researchers to present their work. Submissions should address issues relevant to the science and innovation system, and may fall into one or more topic areas related to the STI/research system.

12th Regional Innovation Policies Conference RIP2017

Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 26-27 October, 2017
The 12th Regional Innovation Policies Conference (RIP2017) will be held at the University of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia (Spain). The conference will be organized by the ICEDE Research Group and it will take place on the 26th and 27th of October 2017 at the Faculty of Economics and Business, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of economics studies in Galicia. The conference is a venue for researchers, practitioners and policy-makers with an interest in regional innovation, regional development and innovation policy. Participants are encouraged to submit papers on topics in relation to the conference themes listed in the full call for papers.

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