The IPL newsletter: Volume 18, Issue 367

News from the IPL


EDA Announces US$17M in Awards via RIS Program

SSTI Weekly Digest
On September 20, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced $17 million in awards to the 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program awards. SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council has worked with members to encourage Congress to support this program, which makes awards to support the creation and expansion of tech transformation networks (i6 Challenge) and early-stage seed capital funds (the Seed Fund Support). In total, EDA made 42 investments that leveraged over $22 million in private, state and local matching funds, including to eight SSTI members.

NSF Commits US$80M to Four ERCs

SSTI Weekly Digest
For 32 years, the Engineering Research Centers (ERC) program of the National Science Foundation has provided long-term funding for university-industry-government collaborations focused on addressing specific, complex engineering challenges. The program can be an integral part of a state’s strategy to encourage stronger partnerships among universities and private industry. On September 12, NSF announced $80 million in funding for four more multidisciplinary centers, bringing the total number of ERCs funded since 1985 to 74.

NIST Awards Nearly US$3.9M for 2017 Small Business Innovation Research Program

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently announced that 21 small businesses will receive a total of nearly $3.9 million in grants to support innovative technology development. Awardees in 16 states will receive Phase I or Phase II funding through NIST’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The competitively selected awardees submitted proposals in response to NIST’s calls for innovative products. These products aim to solve specific technology challenges in collaboration and partnership, data and modeling, precision measurements, and systems.

Editor's Pick

Building the Learning City

Daniel Castro, Government Technology
Around the world, cities are laying the groundwork to become “smart cities”using data, analytics, and automation to address major urban issues from affordable housing to public safety. But while the immediate challenge is to implement the technology necessary to enable a smart city, the longer-term one is to forge the partnerships necessary to build “learning cities”, networks of smart cities that allow governments to exchange metrics and discover data-driven insights not only from their own communities but also from peers in other locales.

Innovation Policy

Inequality, Financial Development, and Economic Growth in the OECD, 1870-2011

Jakob B. Madsen, MD. Rabiul Islam, and Hristos Doucouliagos, Monash Business School
Inequality’s effect on growth remains elusive, largely due to endogeneity, complex interactions, and lead-lag relationships. This report revisits this issue by examining the four main channels through which inequality transmits to growth: savings, investment, education, and knowledge production. The authors construct new panel data for 21 OECD countries spanning 142 years. External communist influence is used as a new time-varying instrument for inequality and the effects of inequality on the outcome variables are made conditional on the stage of financial development. The results show that inequality hampers growth at low to moderate levels of financial development but promotes growth at advanced levels.

Schools at the Crossroads of Innovation in Cities and Regions

Many people would not consider schools among the most innovative institutions of modern societies. This perception is not entirely accurate, since education is innovating in many ways in order to meet the demands of the 21st century economies and societies. But teachers and schools cannot do it alone. They should be seen as actors and partners in broader ecosystems of innovation and learning at the local and regional levels. Schools are networking organisations, making important contributions to the regional economy and local community. Businesses, industry, organisations and communities can help and support schools, and can also benefit from their roles in learning, knowledge development and innovation. This report serves as the background report to the third Global Education Industry Summit which was held on 25-26 September 2017 in Luxembourg. On the basis of recent OECD analysis, it discusses innovation in education, schools driving progress and well-being in communities, the role of industry and employers in supporting schools and suggests policies towards better ecosystems of learning and innovation. The report argues for better networking and partnerships between schools, regional industries and local communities.

Clusters & Regions

Signs of Digital Distress: Mapping Broadband Availability and Subscription in American Neighborhoods

Adie Tomer, Elizabeth Kneebone, and Ranjitha Shivaram, Brookings
Broadband, especially wireline broadband in American homes, is the essential infrastructure for unlocking the internet’s economic benefits. However, broadband infrastructure is far from ubiquitous, both in terms of where it operates and who subscribes to it, and those deficits are not shared evenly across the country. As such, policymakers must understand how the national digital divide varies depending on the place. This analysis specifically focuses on wireline broadband. While wireless data plans have exploded in popularity since 2011, wireline broadband continues to offer multiple benefits to household users. Specifically, it delivers higher connection speeds, permits greater cross-platform security, typically includes unlimited data, and maximizes a mobile device’s utility via high-speed WiFi. As such, wireline broadband is a critical, in-home gateway to the content, applications, and services that enable households to participate in a digital economy. Additionally, there is a concern that individuals who rely exclusively on wireless plans—and who tend to be lower income, younger, and more racially diverse—are limited in their capacities to tap the internet’s potential.

Statistics & Indicators

The 25 Most High Tech Cities in the World

Business Insider
In less than 35 years, the World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas. That’s an additional 2.5 billion people. The cities that will flourish the most are those that rely on cutting-edge technologies and create opportunities for people to develop new ones. To get a sense of which cities do that the best, Business Insider consulted 2thinknow, a research firm that specializes in analyzing innovative cities, to rank the most high-tech cities in the world. The firm chose 10 factors related to technological advancement — including the number of patents filed per capita, startups, tech venture capitalists, ranking in other innovation datasets, and level of smartphone use  — weighted them, and ranked a list of 85 cities accordingly. If you want to know what the future will look like, these are the cities to keep an eye on.

Policy Digest

What Amazon’s HQ2 Wish List Signals About the Future of Cities

Amy Liu and Mark Muro, Harvard Business Review|
Amazon’s big announcement that it will build a second headquarters has caught the attention of local officials, economic development professionals, and pundits across the U.S. and Canada. And for good reason: “HQ2,” as it’s being called, would create upwards of 50,000 high-paying jobs and billions of dollars of new investment in whichever city it locates in. The city that lands this historic deal will see its economic and physical landscape transformed, albeit for a hefty price tag in the form of tax breaks.Thus far, public attention has largely focused on two aspects of Amazon’s announcement: Speculation about which of the 50 eligible North American metropolitan areas are most likely to be chosen for HQ2, and how much public subsidy the winning city will offer the world’s 4th-largest corporation to seal the deal. But this announcement carries far more profound implications for regional and local economic developers, Amazon HQ2 hopefuls or not. Amazon’s selection criteria, as described in the company’s request for proposal, sets out a compelling list of the attributes cities must have if they aspire to be a serious part of the America’s growing digital economy.

Amazon’s wish list is an unusually public confirmation from one of the most recognized corporations in the world of the factors that make a local ecosystem relevant in today’s innovation economy. Among these factors are:

  • Capacity to produce skilled, technical talent. The importance of talent pervades the Amazon RFP, with special mention of a “strong” university system, computer science programming in the K-12 education system, and opportunities for creative partnerships with community colleges and universities.
  • Access to domestic and global markets through modern infrastructure. Amazon dwells extensively on the importance of proximity and connectivity to population centers. It seeks a strong infrastructure network of highways, international airports, and high-speed broadband to streamline logistics, conduct business, and access major employment pools.
  • Connected and sustainable placemaking. The Amazon RFP reads like an urban planner’s dream, brimming with calls for energy efficient buildings, recycling services, public plazas, green space, and access to multiple modes of transportation. While Amazon will apparently consider greenfield sites as well as existing developments for its new headquarters, it emphasizes its interest in promoting walkability and connectivity between densely clustered buildings through “sidewalks, bike lanes, trams, metro, bus, light rail, train, and additional creative options.”
  • Culture and diversity. Promoting an inclusive culture matters to Amazon. The RFP specifically calls for “the presence and support of a diverse population,” along with excellent higher education institutions and functioning local governance.

In sum, the Amazon RFP very clearly embodies a series of forward-thinking business values of global engagement, diversity, and environmental stewardship. Amazon is also signaling very clearly and publicly what the market demands for modern, state-of-the-urban economic development going forward. Cities need to look closely at the criteria in Amazon’s RFP and ask whether they’ve done enough to build up the fundamental assets prized by innovative firms and industries.


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.

Canadian Science Policy Conference

Ottawa, 1-3 November, 2017
As the nation celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday, CSPC also invites you get engaged with CSPC 2017 and celebrate the science and innovation policy accomplishments together. We invite you to submit your suggestions and event proposals.

WICK2017: 5th PhD Workshop Economics of Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge

Turin, Italy, 19-20 December, 2017
The aim of the workshop is to bring together young researchers from different disciplines and provide them a circumstance of discussion of both full and early works. The main topics the workshop will cover are Economics of Science, Firm and Regional Innovation Strategies, HR Analytics and Economic Philosophy. The event will feature keynote contributions from Dr. Frank Neffke and Dr. Torsten Heinrich.

GeoInno2018: 4th Geography of Innovation Conference

Barcelona, Spain, January 31st, 2017 – February 2, 2018
The aim of this event is to bring together some of the world’s leading thinkers from a variety of disciplines ranging from economic geography, innovation economics, and regional science, as well as economics and management science, sociology and network theory, and political and planning sciences.

The 12th Workshop on the Organization, Economics, and Policy of Scientific Research

Bath, UK, 27-28 April, 2018
As in previous years 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. 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 2015 or later).

Subscriptions & Comments

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think will find it of value. We look forward to collaborating with you on this initiative. If you would like to comment on, or contribute to, the content, subscribe or unsubscribe, please contact us at

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