The IPL newsletter: Volume 20, Issue 409

News from the IPL


St. John’s-based Verafin closes massive $515 million in financing

Isabelle Kirkwood, Betakit
St. John’s, Newfoundland-based Verafina financial crime management company, recently closed a $515 million CAD round of equity and debt recapitalization. The article notes that “this represents the largest-ever venture capital deal in Canadian history.” The firm offers a cloud-based, secure software platform for fraud detection and management, Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering compliance and management, high-risk customer management, and information sharing.

Editor's Pick

Standards for the Digital Economy: Creating an Architecture for Data Collection, Access and Analytics

Michel Girard, CIGI
This report lays out a standards framework geared towards better positioning Canada to benefit from the ‘new data value chains’ made possible by digitization. The author explores the potential for data standards to “clarify the roles and responsibilities of participants in data value chains regarding data collection and grading, data access and sharing, as well as data analytics and solutions.”  This would allow existing supply chains to improve data sharing and interoperability within a framework that sets appropriate benchmarks regarding data governance.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

How global cities are innovating to leverage foreign investment

Max Bouchet, Rachel Barker, and Marek Gootman, Brookings Institute
This report summarizes how the economic development offices (EDOs) of various global cities have “gained a more sophisticated approach to FDI.”  The authors assert that as part of this trend, cities are increasingly “connecting their international outreach strategy in service of local priority sectors. They intentionally target foreign markets. And they acknowledge the importance of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and the fundamental connections between FDI and exports.”

Innovation Policy

Manufacturing USA Annual Report: Delivering Value for the Nation

Manufacturing USA
This 2018 annual report summarizes the technology and workforce development initiatives underway at the 14 Manufacturing USA institutes. Founded in 2014 with support from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Energy, the organization’s institutes are “public-private partnerships which assist American manufacturing enterprises in developing new products and new production technologies.” The report highlights the institutes’ various commercialization and workforce development benchmarks, including leveraging $183 million in federal funds to attract $304 million in state and private investment, providing workforce development programs to 200 000 workers, enlisting 1937 member organizations, and conducting 475 collaborative R&D projects.

Cross-country evidence on the contributions of research institutions to innovation

Caroline Paunovi, Martin Borowieckii & Nevine El-Mallakh, OECD
This paper presents preliminary evidence on the patenting activities of 21 200 research institutions – 20 091 higher education institutions (HEIs) and 1 109 public research institutes (PRIs) – for 36 OECD countries and China from 1992 to 2014.  The report finds that patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO) filed by research institutions grew faster than applications for industry patents, while patents jointly filed by industry and research institutions grew even faster. However, research institutions’ share in patent applications remains low and their ratio of patents granted to applications is below that of industry. An econometric analysis at postal code level shows that geographical proximity to research institutions is associated with higher industry patenting. The report also finds that research institutions positively influence local industry patenting, including in life sciences and digital technologies.

A Vision for a Sustainable Battery Value Chain in 2030

World Economic Forum
This report envisions the path to achieving “a circular, responsible and just battery value chain.”  The authors describe the need for a sustainable battery value chain as “one of the major near-term drivers to realize the 2C Paris Agreement goal in the transport and power sectors, setting course towards achieving the 1.5C goal if complemented with other technologies and collaborative efforts.”

How Tech Criticism Will Shape Our Digital Future

Daniel Munro, Innovation Policy Lab
In this CIGI article, Innovation Policy Lab Senior Fellow Daniel Munro explores various motives and goals of technology criticism in an effort to “think [more] carefully about what exactly we are doing when we criticize technology and tech firms.”  The article stresses that tech criticism needs to be more inclusive and aware of “what motivates our concerns, who is most at risk and where certain lines of criticism might lead.”

Statistics & Indicators

Main Science and Technology Indicators

OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation
The recent update of the OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators shows that R&D intensity (expenditure on R&D as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) in the OECD area rose slightly from 2.34% in 2016 to 2.37% in 2017. This was largely driven by growth in the United States, Japan, Germany and Korea, offsetting a decline in countries such as Canada, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. In 2017, Korea and Israel continued to be the countries with the highest R&D intensity, at 4.55% and 4.54% of GDP, respectively.

Job Creation by Firm Age, 2014-2018

Colin Edwards, State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI)
Recent analysis by SSTI of the Census Bureau’s Business Employment Dynamics (BDM) data explores states’ shares of US net job creation by firm age.  Firms aged one year or less accounted for 98 percent of new jobs created in every state. The general finding is that net job creation is highest in firms less than one-year-old, second highest in firms age 10 and up, and lowest in firms age five to nine. Nationwide job creation by firms aged less than one year, one-to-four years, and five-to-nine years have remained relatively steady while nearly all the volatility in job creation has come from firms older than 10 years.

Policy Digest

Return on Investment Initiative: Final Green Paper

National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)
This paper is a result of NIST’s joint initiative through the President’s Management Agenda with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) called Return on Investment Initiative for Unleashing American Innovation. The initiative is also part of the OSTP’s Lab-to-Market Cross Agency Priority (CAP) goal, which aims to dramatically increase returns from the more than $150 billion per year of U.S. federal investment in research and development (R&D). The initiative’s objectives to realize this vision are efforts to “assess, streamline, and accelerate the transfer of technology from Lab-to-Market.”

Input for the report included consultation with several hundred experts from companies, universities, institutions and federal interagency working groups at forums held across the nation and organized by NIST and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The stakeholders recommended to NIST the following 5 strategy actions for enhancing how federally funded inventions move from the laboratory to the marketplace:

Strategy 1: Identify regulatory impediments and administrative improvements in Federal technology transfer policies and practices

  • Government Use License: The scope of the “government use license” is not well-defined
  • March-In Rights: The circumstances under which the government may appropriately exercise march-in rights to license further development of an invention to achieve practical application are not clear
  • Preference for U.S. Manufacturing: Existing statute supports the preference for U.S. manufacturing but the process to obtain a waiver is confusing
  • Copyright of Software:  The “Government Works” exception to copyright protection for software products of Federal R&D at Government-Owned, Government-Operated Laboratories constrains commercialization
  • Proprietary Information: An expanded protection period for proprietary information under a Cooperative R&D Agreement would encourage greater collaboration with Federal Laboratories
  • Strengthen Technology Transfer at Federal Laboratories: Updates to policies and practices under the Stevenson-Wydler Act could be simplified
  • Presumption of Government Rights to Employee Inventions: The process to determine a present assignment of invention rights by Federal employees to the Federal Government is overly burdensome

Strategy 2: Increase engagement with private sector technology development experts and investors

  • Streamlined Partnership Mechanisms: Improved clarity and use of best practices government-wide would streamline agreements and ensure greater transparency for R&D partners
  • Expanded Partnership Mechanisms: Private sector investment for translational R&D and technology maturation could be increased through expanded partnership agreements and nonprofit foundations
  • Technology Commercialization Incentives: Recipients of Federal funding could benefit from a limited use of R&D funding awards to enable intellectual property protection

Strategy 3: Build a more entrepreneurial R&D workforce

  • Technology Entrepreneurship Programs: Expanding technology entrepreneurship programs at Federal R&D agencies government-wide will help build a more entrepreneurial workforce
  • Managing Conflicts of Interest: Current requirements for managing conflicts of interest pose challenges to build a more entrepreneurial R&D workforce

Strategy 4: Support innovative tools and services for technology transfer

  • Federal IP Data Reporting System(s): A secure, modern platform is not available for reporting data on intellectual property resulting from Federal R&D
  • Access to Federal Technologies, Knowledge, and Capabilities: A federated data portal is not available to easily access, use, and analyze information on federally funded technologies, knowledge, and capabilities that are available to the public

Strategy 5: Improve understanding of global science and technology trends and benchmarks

  • Benchmarking and Metrics: Current metrics to capture, assess, and improve broad technology transfer outcomes and impacts based on federally funded R&D and underpinning operational processes are inadequate


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. Opportunities to watch parts of the proceedings streaming online.  Full details on the sessions are available at the Atlanta Conference site.

Regional Innovation Policies 2019: Technological Chance, Social Innovation, and Regional Transformation

Florence, Italy, 7-8 November, 2019
The Conference will focus on the paths of regional transformation that emerge as a response to technological and social change. Sustainability issues require regions to face change by trying to balance economic growth with social innovation. We will discuss the role that regional policies can play within such scenarios, by supporting the creation of new assets and resources, as well as favouring multi-level alignments of visions and interests.

Rethinking Culture and Creativity in the Technological Era

Florence, Italy, 20-21 February, 2020
The conference focuses on the following questions: how the digital revolution may affect the cultural and creative sectors? What are the new challenges for the management of cultural heritage in the technological Era?  It is the first event of a pluriannual program organized in collaboration with the University of Florence, the University of Catania and the University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’. The purpose of the program is to create a network of scholars in topics related to economics and management of culture and creativity and to contribute to the current debate and emergent issues of the cultural and creative economy.

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This newsletter is prepared by Travis Southin.
Project manager is David A. Wolfe.