The IPL newsletter: Volume 18, Issue 371

News from the IPL


Governments of Canada and Alberta Invest in Cutting-Edge Clean Technologies to Encourage Clean Growth

Canadians will benefit from a healthier environment and new business opportunities created across Canada thanks to the federal and provincial funding announced recently for clean technology development. The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a federal government investment of $13.5 million, through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), to advance technologies being developed by small and medium-sized clean tech enterprises. Government of Alberta funding of $15.3 million, through Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) and Alberta Innovates, was also announced today by the Honourable Christina Gray, Minister of Labour and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal, on behalf of Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, for a total investment of $28.8 million in 11 Canadian clean tech businesses. The funded projects will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner methods for oil and gas mining, better energy efficiency in buildings, and other environmental and economic benefits that ensure the health of our communities.

MaRS Expands to Boston with New Greentown Lab Partnership

Aeman Ansari, Betakit
Toronto-based innovation hub MaRS announced a new partnership today that will expand its presence to Boston, Massachusetts. With this partnership, MaRS and Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in the United States, will offer a “soft landing” for each other’s cleantech ventures by providing workspaces in their respective regions. The organizations also plan to hold events that showcase their technologies to corporate and venture capital communities in the northeast United States. Since its inception, Greentown Labs has raised over $260 million in funding and says it has helped more than 120 companies. MaRS also says it has worked with hundreds of cleantech ventures that are looking at a variety of global challenges including, improving energy storage, generation and distribution to defining the future of transportation. In 2016, these companies collectively raised $210 million in funding. This collaboration is one of several that MaRS has established in the region to help Canadian ventures create export opportunities in the US.

Editor's Pick

New Thinking on Innovation: Special Report

Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)
Innovation is at the centre of the current economic policy discourse in Canada. Innovation drives productivity and with it, standards of living. Innovation is the process of using ideas, typically in the form of intellectual property (IP), to offer new or improved products or services for the same or lower overall cost of production. This collection of essays, which were first published online in the spring of 2017, marshals new thinking on innovation, and brings together a community of scholars and practitioners who offer fresh approaches to innovation in Canada, and Canada’s place in the world. The essays discuss the role that international trade plays in stimulating innovation, including the nature of trade agreements; consider domestic policy on innovation; and examine how global processes such as the World Trade Organization and the Group of Twenty might foster a climate in which the innovation strategies of smaller countries could be accommodated. An epilogue maps the key themes to emerge from the discussion and suggests a framework for an IP-centric innovation strategy. Rapid developments in technologies, often referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are upending established structures in every part of the economy and society. As in other facets of international negotiations, the starting point in efforts to bring order to and shape the current technology-fuelled environment for the global good is national policies and postures.

Innovation Policy

Artificial Intelligence: The Next Digital Frontier?

McKinsey Global Institute
Artificial intelligence is poised to unleash the next wave of digital disruption, and companies should prepare for it now. We already see real-life benefits for a few early adopting firms, making it more urgent than ever for others to accelerate their digital transformations. The findings in this report focus on five AI technology systems: robotics and autonomous vehicles, computer vision, language, virtual agents, and machine learning, which includes deep learning and underpins many recent advances in the other AI technologies.

Getting Skills Right: United Kingdom

This report identifies effective strategies to tackle skills imbalances in the United Kingdom. It provides an assessment of practices and policies in the following areas: the collection and use of information on skill needs to foster a better alignment between skills acquisition and labour market needs; education and training policies targeting skills development and investment for individuals and employers; job creation policies to develop skills through on-the-job learning; and policies facilitating the entry of migrants with skills that are in demand. The assessment is based on country visits, desk research and data analysis conducted by the OECD secretariat.

Digitalization and the American Workforce

Mark Muro, Sifan Liu, Jacob Whiton, and Siddharth Kulkarni, Brookings
In recent decades, the diffusion of digital technology into nearly every business and workplace, also known as “digitalization,” has been remaking the U.S. economy and the world of work. The “digitalization of everything” has at once increased the potential of individuals, firms, and society while also contributing to a series of troublesome impacts and inequalities, such as worker pay disparities across many demographics, and the divergence of metropolitan economic outcomes. In light of that, this report presents a detailed analysis of changes in the digital content of 545 occupations covering 90 percent of the U.S. workforce in all industries since 2001. The analysis categorizes U.S. occupations into jobs that require high, medium or low digital skills and tracks the impacts of rapid change. The full report concludes with implications of the key findings and suggests ways communities can work with firms and workers to spread the benefits of digitalization while mitigating its potentially harmful effects.

Clusters & Regions

Smart City Strategies: A Global Review 2017

Catapult: Future Cities
The ‘smart city’ was popularized as a concept in the early 2010s to describe how advances in technology and data could allow us to plan and run our cities better. Since then interest in the idea has exploded, attracting influence, investment, and criticism across the world. This study aims to provide a global overview of why cities engage in the smart cities agenda, what challenges they meet along the way and how they are attempting to solve them. This report contains studies of 21 cities, based on a mix of geography, population size, maturity of smart city strategy and capacity to contribute to the project. Through this research Catapult: Future Cities is building a richer knowledge base for cities that are embarking on their own smart city strategies, as well as a reference for those who are already some way through the journey.

The Fourth Regional Plan: Making the Region Work for All of Us

Regional Plan Association (RPA)
The RPA spent the past five years engaged in more discussions and countless hours of research and analysis to better understand challenges to the New York metropolitan region, and to find solutions. Researchers learned that despite the flourishing economy, future growth is far from guaranteed. The region gained 1.8 million jobs over the past 25 years, but is likely to grow by only half that number over next quarter century. And the growth we’ve experienced has failed to lift the standard of living for far too many households. Yet if we change course—if we can provide the housing, commercial space, and infrastructure that is needed for all those who want to live here—the region could gain nearly two million additional jobs by 2040. More importantly, this growth could take place in a way that broadly shares prosperity and well-being, overcomes long-standing inequities, promotes a sustainable environment, and prepares the region for climate change. Achieving this long-range vision of inclusive growth will require rethinking the institutions that govern the region and oversee its infrastructure. The Fourth Regional Plan includes 61 specific recommendations to achieve greater equity, shared prosperity, better health, and sustainability. It also represents an important opportunity to continue—and intensify—a civic dialogue that breaks through the short-term thinking of the past.

Statistics & Indicators

OECD Science, Technology, and Industry Scoreboard 2017

With some 200 indicators drawing on the latest internationally comparable data, the 2017 edition of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry (STI) Scoreboard shows how the digital transformation affects science, innovation, the economy, and the way people work and live. It aims to help governments design more effective science, innovation and industry policies in the fast-changing digital era.

Making the Connection: Aligning Small Businesses and the Workforce Development System

Judith Messina, Center for an Urban Future
Small businesses have been sparking much of the recent job growth in New York City. However, there is a major disconnect in the city’s workforce development system when it comes to working with small businesses. This report explores how to achieve greater alignment between the city’s thousands of small businesses and the workforce development system.

Policy Digest

Universities Harnessing Their Superpowers: Principles for City Collaboration

Much has been made of the role UK universities can play as ‘anchor institutions’ in their local area – a theme that was also explored in our previous report ‘Connected universities, connected cities’. Many universities are being proactive in this respect, putting themselves at the forefront of ‘place’ leadership. Yet the current debate around fees, funding and the role of universities in general can often seem to be pulling in the opposite direction, failing to recognize the wider social and economic benefits universities can bring to the area in which they are based. To see where these powers have been deployed to great success, you could not ask for a better example than Toronto, whose universities have played a central part in driving long term prosperity, local-inclusiveness and city-building. This report seeks to explore what the universities’ superpowers are and how they have been deployed to such great effect, not only in Toronto but also in other places such as Glasgow. The report also looks at the fundamental principles that enable this to happen, giving a framework that we hope will be helpful to thinking about these issues in the UK context.


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).

Triple Helix XVI Manchester

Manchester, UK, 5-8 September, 2018
Across the world, states and city regions are facing huge societal, economic, environmental, and political challenges whose solutions require concerted new efforts and innovative partnerships. The 2018 International Triple Helix Conference brings together academia, government, business, and community to share effective practices and to advance the frontiers of knowledge about collaboration for economic progress, social development and sustainability, and the role of cities and regions as enabling spaces for these interactions.

A World of Flows – Labour Mobility, Capital, and Knowledge in an Age of Global Reversal and Revival

Lugano, Switzerland, 3-6 June, 2018
The 2018 RSA Annual Conference aims to address processes of global reversal and regional revival, in a world dominated by flows of capital, labor, and knowledge. Further it seeks to understand the political, economic and social factors that initiate change and how these changes are finding new expressions as the world’s political and economic system continues to struggle with low rates of global economic growth, the rise of China as an economic super power, the on-going impacts of recession and austerity, and increasing levels of inequality. To study and debate these and many other questions, we warmly invite the regional studies/science and connected communities to join us.

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