The IPL newsletter: Volume 19, Issue 393


New Regional Innovation Programming Supports Business Development and Growth

Government of Canada
Business innovation and productivity are key to a dynamic economy and to the creation of good jobs for Canadians. That’s why the Government of Canada is providing businesses with consistent support across regions to seize new opportunities created by an innovation economy. Recently, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Canada’s regional development agencies (RDA), announced the Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation (REGI) program—a nationally coordinated, regionally tailored program to support the growth of Canadian businesses, their expansion into new markets and their adoption of new technologies and processes, which will help fuel the economy.

Canada, France Plan Global Panel to Study the Effect of AI

In Montreal on Thursday, the governments of France and Canada said they will establish a similar group to study and respond to the global changes being wrought by artificial intelligence technology. They say the panel is needed to rein in unethical uses of AI and minimize the risk of economic disruption such as job losses caused by automation. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced plans for the International Panel on Artificial Intelligence with the French minister for digital affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi. Trudeau has launched several programs to advance Canadian investment in AI in recent years, and he said he also wants to lead in considering the technology’s potential downsides.

Commerce Announces $21 Million in New Regional Innovation Strategies Awards

SSTI Weekly Digest
At SSTI’s 2018 Annual Conference this week, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced 40 awardees for $21 million in the latest round of the Regional Innovation Strategies program. The program which makes grants for the i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support, has now provided $78 million to 180 projects across 46 states, DC and Puerto Rico. Congratulations to SSTI members: Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Excell Partners, Kansas State University, Launch New York, Launch Place, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, New Jersey Innovation Institute, Research Foundation for SUNY, University of Michigan, University of Missouri, and VilCap on their awards. Commerce also announced that the next funding round will be released in February. Resources on past funding rounds are available at

Editor's Pick

Why the United States Needs a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy and What it Should Look Like

Joshua New, Center for Data Innovation
The United States is the global leader in developing and using artificial intelligence (AI), but it may not be for long. Succeeding in AI requires more than just having leading companies make investments. It requires a healthy ecosystem of AI companies, robust AI inputs—including skills, research, and data—and organizations that are motivated and free to use AI. And that requires the federal government to support the development and adoption of AI. Many other countries, including China, France, and the United Kingdom, are developing significant initiatives to gain global market share in AI. While the U.S. government has taken some steps, it lacks a comprehensive strategy to proactively spur the development and adoption of AI. This report explains why a national AI strategy is necessary to bolster U.S. competitiveness, strengthen national security, and maximize the societal benefits that the country could derive from AI. It then lays out six overarching goals and 40 specific recommendations for Congress and the administration to support AI development and adoption.

Innovation Policy

2018 Skills Gap and the Future of Work Study

Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute
While most manufacturers may expect jobs to grow, they must contend with one of the tightest labor markets in recent history, including a situation where the number of open jobs exceeds the number of people looking for work. For manufacturers, filling open jobs has been an ongoing challenge in recent years, but the current conditions are reaching serious levels. Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute entered their fourth skills gap study with an interest in reevaluating their prior projections and moving the conversation forward to today’s hiring environment and the future of manufacturing work. The results appear to highlight a widening gap between the jobs that need to be filled and the skilled talent pool capable of filling them. Beyond the numbers, the study probes the depths of today’s talent shortage in manufacturing. It explores how jobs are changing due to technology and automation, and what measures manufacturers could take to solve today’s shortage while preparing their future workforce for success.

What GM’s Layoffs Reveal About the Digitalization of the Auto Industry

Mark Muro and Robert Maxim, Brookings
While all of those perspectives are relevant, the most revealing aspect of GM’s recent announcement  that it plans to cut up to 14,800 jobs in the U.S. and Canada may well be what the layoffs say about broader technology trends. GM’s layoffs are not just incremental but existential, in that sense: They are about accelerating the staffing changes mandated by the company’s aggressive transition from analog to digital products and from gasoline to electric power. As such, the new layoffs (and associated future hirings) are likely an augury of much more disruption coming — in the auto sector, for sure, but also in firms all across the economy. Central to GM’s announcement is the “digitalization of everything.”  In other words, GM’s layoffs significantly reflect the talent and workforce strains associated with the diffusion of digital and electronic technologies into nearly every industry, business, and workplace in America.

Productivity and Small Business

House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS)
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crucial to the UK economy both for wealth creation and for the people they employ. Productivity growth is essential for promoting long-term economic growth and higher living standards. It is therefore vital that SMEs are given the best chance of succeeding and can contribute towards the UK’s productivity. UK productivity is falling behind its competitors. The Government has acknowledged this in its Industrial Strategy and is considering how it can address the ‘long tail’ of unproductive SMEs. To tackle this, this report recommends the Government reduces imbalances between SMEs in different regions and sectors and helps small businesses to better understand what productivity is, how it can be measured and then improved.

How the U.S. Can Rebuild its Capacity to Innovate

Sridhar Kota, Justin Talbot-Zorn, and Tom Maloney, Harvard Business Review
Many U.S. firms have long had a simple mantra: “Invent here, manufacture there.” But, increasingly, those same companies are now choosing to invent as well as manufacture abroad. From automotive to semiconductors to pharma to clean energy, America’s innovation centers have shifted east, offering growing evidence that the U.S. has lost what Harvard Business School’s Willy Shih calls the “industrial commons”: indispensable production skills and capabilities. It’s not just that virtually all consumer electronics are designed and made overseas. It’s that the U.S. has lost the underlying capacity to make products like flat-panel displays, cell phones, and laptops; nearly half of the foreign R&D centers established in China now belong to U.S.-based companies. This isn’t just a lesson for the United States. It’s a lesson for countries around the world: Once manufacturing bids farewell, engineering and production know-how depart as well, and innovation activities eventually follow.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Unfinished Business: Ontario Since the Great Recession

Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity
In its 17th Annual Report, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity takes a retrospective look at how the province’s economy has fared since 2000, emphasizing the impact of the 2008-09 Great Recession on Ontario, and how the province has since recovered. As in past Annual Reports, the Institute analyzes the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Ontario compared to the median of its peers, known as the prosperity gap. Specifically, this Annual Report analyzes fluctuations in the prosperity gap as they relate to the impacts of the Great Recession. The primary driver of Ontario’s prosperity gap remains lagging productivity, which reduces prosperity by $7,000 per capita despite the province’s strong age profile, worker intensity, and high labour force utilization.

Statistics and Indicators

Useful Stats: Higher Ed R&D by State, 2008-2017

SSTI Weekly Digest
Higher education R&D expenditures (HERD) grew by 38.9 percent from 2008 to 2017, an increase of more than $21 billion, according to an SSTI analysis of recently released data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. From 2016 to 2017, HERD grew by $3.8 billion, the largest year-over-year increase since 2010-2011. Higher education R&D expenditures grew the fastest in Connecticut (66.2 percent), Massachusetts (63.9 percent), and Wyoming (63.0 percent) over the 10-year period, while New York ($2.3 billion increase), California ($2.0 billion), and Massachusetts ($1.6 billion) saw the largest absolute gains during this time.

Policy Digest

Return on Investment Initiative for Unleashing American Innovation: Draft Green Paper 2018

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
This Green Paper addresses the critical need to modernize the U.S. system of technology transfer and innovation for the 21st Century. Although Federal technology transfer laws and activities have served the Nation well over nearly four decades and continue to support innovation, the U.S. is continuing to lose ground to competition. Each of the strategy chapters is organized to provide an introductory background, note the challenges, and explain intended actions to streamline Federal technology transfer policies and practices and accelerate the transfer of technology to the private sector. The intended actions include best practice sharing, policy guidance, statutory improvements, and clarification of statutory provisions through regulatory changes, which are directed at reducing government bureaucracy and cutting red tape to accelerate innovation. The goals are organized around the five strategies, which also serve as the organization for the chapters in this green paper:

  1. Identify regulatory impediments and administrative improvements in Federal technology transfer policies and practices;
  2. Increase engagement with private sector technology development experts and investors;
  3. Build a more entrepreneurial R&D workforce;
  4. Support innovative tools and services for technology transfer; and
  5. Improve understanding of global science and technology trends and benchmarks.

Each of the strategy chapters is organized to provide an introductory background, note the challenges, and explain intended actions to streamline Federal technology transfer policies and practices and accelerate the transfer of technology to the private sector. The intended actions include best practice sharing, policy guidance, statutory improvements, and clarification of statutory provisions through regulatory changes, which are directed at reducing government bureaucracy and cutting red tape to accelerate innovation.

Intended actions include:

1. Identify regulatory impediments and administrative improvements in Federal technology transfer policies and practices:
Government Use License: Define the scope of the “government use license”
March-In Rights: Define the circumstances under which the government may exercise march-in rights to license further development of an invention to achieve practical application
Preference for U.S. Manufacturing: Protect and strengthen U.S. manufacturing; streamline waiver process in accordance with statute
Software Copyright: Establish copyright for software products of Federal Government R&D
Trade Secrets: Expand authority to protect trade secrets
Strengthen Technology Transfer at Federal Laboratories: Streamline Federal Laboratory technology transfer policies and practices
Presumption of Government Rights to Employee Inventions: Provide for a present assignment of invention rights and streamline rights determination processes

2. Increase engagement with private sector technology development experts and investors
Streamline Partnership Mechanisms: Establish consistency in legislative interpretation and use of best practices
New/Expanded Partnership Mechanisms: Authorize new and expanded mechanisms to establish partnership agreements and nonprofit foundations
Technology Maturation Funding: Allow limited use of R&D funding awards for intellectual property protection; work with Small Business Administration for Small Business Innovation Research

3. Build a more entrepreneurial R&D workforce
Technology Entrepreneurship Programs: Establish technology entrepreneurship programs at Federal R&D agencies government-wide
Managing Conflicts of Interest: Implement government-wide requirements to better manage conflicts of interest to promote entrepreneurship

4. Support innovative tools and services for technology transfer
Federal IP Data Reporting System(s): Establish a modern platform for reporting data on intellectual property resulting from Federal R&D
Access to Federal R&D Assets: Establish a federated data portal that is easy for the public to access, use, and analyze

5. Improve understanding of global science and technology trends and benchmarks
Benchmarking and Metrics: Establish metrics to better capture, assess, and improve Federal R&D
outcomes, impacts, and operational processes


CFP: WICK#6 PhD Workshop: Economics of Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge

Turin, Italy, 9-10 January, 2019
The main topics the workshop will cover are Economics of Knowledge and Innovation, with a special focus on Firm and Regional Innovation Strategies, Economics of Science, Green Innovation, Smart cities, and Energy policy. Sessions will be methodologically heterogeneous. Econometric contributions, as well as Complex Network Analysis and computational methods, such as Agent-Based Models, are very welcome. The event will feature keynote contributions from Prof. Massimo Riccaboni (IMT Lucca and KU Leuven), Dr. Giovanni Marin (University of Urbino) and Dr. Ernest Miguelez (CNRS and GREThA, University of Bordeaux).


Bordeaux, France, 20-21 May, 2019
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 2016 or later). Up to 18 papers will be selected from open submissions on the basis of peer review. Contributions are invited on (but not limited to) one or more of the following topics:

  • The evaluation of science policy
  • Organising research activities in universities, PROs and private R&D labs
  • Spillovers from scientific research
  • Role of gender and family in scientific research
  • Science research networks and collaboration
  • Scientific careers and mobility

Deadline for the submission of papers or extended abstracts (min 3 pages) is January 31st 2019. Submissions should be previously unpublished works. All submissions are reviewed with respect to novelty, academic quality and relevance.

CFP: 2019 University-Industry Interaction Conference

Helsinki, Finland, 18-20 June, 2019
This key event for university leaders, practitioners from both business and university, policymakers and educators attracts more than 500 participants from over 60 countries to interact, share knowledge and establish new relationships. During this three-day event, you will encounter presentations from over 100 organisations, tour innovation spaces, have access to a wide variety of workshops and participate in numerous networking opportunities to gain new insights into the bigger picture of university-industry interaction.


Copenhagen, Denmark, 19-21 June, 2019
Since 1996, DRUID has become one of the world’s premier academic conferences on innovation and the dynamics of structural, institutional and geographic change. DRUID is proud to invite senior and junior scholars to participate and contribute with a paper to DRUID19, hosted by Copenhagen Business School. Presenting distinguished plenary speakers, a range of parallel paper sessions, and an 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. Keynotes delivered by top scholars from innovation studies, management, economic geography, and numerous other research fields. Plenary speakers at DRUID19 include Stefano Brusoni, Dimo Dimov, Nijanlana Dutt, Annabel Gawer, Martine Haas, Adam B. Jaffe, Michael G. Jacobides, Sarah Kaplan and Dan Levinthal.

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

Atlanta, GA, 14-17 October, 2019
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.

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