The IPL newsletter: Volume 20, Issue 410

News from the IPL


Top Tech CEOs Warn Canada’s ‘Future Economic Prosperity is at Risk’ in Letter to Federal Leaders

Emily Haws, CBC News
The CEOs of more than a hundred Canadian technology companies have signed an open letter calling on the four major federal party leaders to develop “economic policies that advance innovative Canadian companies including increasing their access to skilled talent, growth capital and new customers.”   Members of the Council of Canadian Innovators, the firms collectively employ 35,000 Canadians, export to 190 countries, and “generated over $6B for the Canadian economy.”

OECD moves to redraw rules for taxing global giants

Josh O’Kane, Globe and Mail
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development recently proposed that 134 participating countries come together “on an equal footing for multilateral negotiation of tax rules” governing large multinational technology companies.  The proposal would guarantee that companies conducting significant business in countries where they don’t have a physical presence could still be taxed.

Editor's Pick

Supporting Research For Sustainable Development

Martin Borowiecki, Diogo Machado, Caroline Paunov and Sandra Planes-Satorr
OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers
This paper analyzes nine innovation policy initiatives from different OECD countries that support research and innovation for systemic solutions to sustainable development. The three types of initiatives reviewed include: i) grant schemes that support the development of environmental technologies; ii) programs that foster research collaborations to address environmental challenges; and iii) smart city initiatives that support sustainable development in urban areas often by leveraging the use of digital technologies. The nine policy initiatives, which were selected based on an overview of initiatives gathered by the EC-OECD STIP Compass database, are described with regards to their policy objective, policy instrument(s) implemented, target groups, selection criteria/procedures, implementation challenges faced, and impact.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Widening Gaps: Regional Inequality within Advanced Economies

John Bluedorn, Weicheng Lian, Natalija Novta, and Yannick Timmer, International Monetary Fund
This recent analysis using the IMF’s World Economic Outlook explores the gaps between the better and worse performing regions in advanced economies. The report finds that these gaps have widened in many cases, and that differences in economic performance between regions within countries can sometimes be even larger than between countries. The authors examine how regional labor markets respond to trade and technology shocks, captured by increases in import competition in external markets and declines in machinery and equipment costs for regions that are more vulnerable to automation. The findings indicate that only technology shocks have lasting effects, especially for worse performing regions.

Innovation Policy

Agents of Change: Making Innovation Agencies as Innovative as Those They Support

Alex Glennie, NESTA
This paper explores how government innovation agencies can become more inclusive, collaborative and future-facing in the way they support innovation. The paper examines “the profound changes that these agencies go through themselves in response to political, societal and economic shifts, as well as the changing needs of those they support.” The author sets out key trends affecting innovation agencies in the years ahead, including the need for more innovator-centric models of support, the drive towards more ‘mission-oriented’ innovation policies and the opportunities to create more inclusive forms of innovation. The paper concludes by suggesting some key principles to guide innovation agencies that aspire to be active ‘agents of change’.

The Economics of Artificial Intelligence Today

Juan Mateos-Garcia, NESTA
This blog post summarizes the proceedings at last month’s Economics of Artificial Intelligence conference in Toronto. The conference was organized by U of T Rotman School of Management professors Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb (together with MIT’s Catherine Tucker). The research agenda covered questions such as what is economically unique about AI, what will be its impacts, and what are the right policies to enhance its benefits.  The blog summarizes the presentations by macro, meso, and micro focus-level.

Statistics & Indicators

Business R&D Performance in the United States Reached $400 Billion in 2017, a 6.8% Increase from 2016

Raymond Wolfe, National Science Foundation
This recent InfoBrief from the NSF tracks US business R&D performance using the 2016 Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) and the 2017 Business Research and Development Survey (BRDS), both developed and cosponsored by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation and by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Policy Digest

Holistic Innovation Policy: Theoretical Foundations, Policy Problems, and Instrument Choices

Charles Edquist & Susana Borrás, Oxford University Press
This week’s Policy Digest offers a summary of the introductory and conclusion chapters for a new book by innovation policy scholars Charles Edquist & Susana Borrás entitled Holistic Innovation Policy: Theoretical Foundations, Policy Problems, and Instrument Choices. The chapters and other information about the book are made available via Charles Edquist’s website.

The Unfinished Theoretical Foundations of Innovation Policy
In this book, an holistic innovation policy is defined as “one that integrates all public actions that influence or may influence innovation processes” (p. 232). The book builds a theory of holistic innovation policy by articulating its theoretical foundations, its problem-oriented approach, and its focus on instrument choices. The first chapter argues that innovation studies have left unfinished the theoretical foundations for the design of innovation policy. Stressing the systemic nature of innovation policy, the authors note that “the availability of instruments and the logic behind their choice is always constrained by budgetary as well as politico-administrative matters and other circumstances” (p. 10). The authors also emphasize that policymakers’ internal learning processes vis-a-vis policy design and instrument choice are similarly constrained.

An Holistic View of Innovation Policy: Obstacles, Instruments, and Consequences
Given these challenges, the authors advocate a more holistic and systemic identification of the problems plaguing the performance of innovation systems.  This requires attention to the obstacles, instruments, and consequences associated with each of the ten determinants of innovation processes:

Provision of R&D can be fostered via tax, direct grants, and IP rules
Competence-building and skills formation are targeted via education funding
New product markets are encouraged using innovation-related public procurement
Product quality requirements are set through regulatory and standard-setting bodies

Organizational creation/change is encouraged via entrepreneurship supports
Networked learning is facilitated via programs of regional collaboration networks
Institutional creation/change occurs via updated IP, competition, and other regulations
Financial support for innovative firms such as equity or tax benefits

Incubation activities via support for entrepreneurial incubators and accelerators
The provision of consultancy services such as access to legal services and mentorship


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.

Plenary panels [full live stream]: View online.
Monday, October 14, 8:45 – 10:00 am. Fourth Industrial Revolution: Whose Opportunity? Whose Threat?
Wednesday, October 16, 8:30 – 10:00 am. Bridging the Divide between Research & Practice in Science Policy Panel: Fostering Value and Use of Research on Research

NSF Scisip program parallel paper sessions [informal feed]:
Monday, October 14, 10:30 am-noon. Changing Production Dynamics
Monday, October 14, 1:15-2:45 pm. Start-ups & Entrepreneurs
Monday, October 14, 3:15-4:45 pm. Measuring Innovation Impacts
Tuesday, October 15, 8:30-10:00 am.  S&T Policy Processes
Tuesday, October 15, 1:15 – 2:45 pm.  Interdisciplinarity & Human Capital

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.

Research Workshop on International Dimensions of Academic Entrepreneurship – Call for Abstracts

Brussels, Belgium, 12 December, 2019
This workshop invites contributions on the links between academic entrepreneurship and the internationalization of higher education.  Submission of abstracts are welcome until the 15th of November. The three areas of focus include: the emergence of international academic entrepreneurship, synergies between international education/research activities and academic entrepreneurship, and academic entrepreneurship in an international context.

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.