The IPL newsletter: Volume 20, Issue 412

News from the IPL

Shauna Brail Comments on Sidewalk Labs in the Toronto Star

Recently the board of Waterfront Toronto approved Sidewalk Lab’s revised agreement to build a smart city on 12 acres of land in Toronto’s Quayside neighborhood. IPL Affiliated Faculty Shauna Brail comments in the Toronto Star.

2019-2020 IPL Speaker Series

Testbeds as innovation policy: A survey

Neil Lee, Associate Professor of Economic Geography, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science
November 28, 2019, 2:00-4:00pm
Room 108N, 1 Devonshire Place Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy

What does open science entail?

Diana Hicks, Professor, the School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
February 20, 2020, 2:00-4:00pm
Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy


Editor's Pick

Interim Report: National Security Commission On Artificial Intelligence

National Security Commission On Artificial Intelligence
This report recently submitted to Congress by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence argues that America’s national security depends on the government getting access to the artificial intelligence breakthroughs made by American technology companies. The NSCAI includes executives from Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Amazon, and others.  The report stresses that the Pentagon needs to build a better relationship with American AI firms to stay ahead of China. The authors warn that US dominance on the world stage and in AI is threatened and point to the fact that China is projected to overtake the US in R&D spending within 10 years.  The authors also lament the fact that US federal research spending as a percentage of GDP “has returned to pre-Sputnik levels.”

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Building Ontario’s Next-Generation Smart Cities through Data Governance Part 2: Towards a Smart City Data Trust

Compute Ontario, ORION, & MaRS Discovery District
This report stems from Compute Ontario and ORION’s consultations with over 125 stakeholders at its March 2019 “Smart Cities Governance Lab” in Kitchener, Waterloo, as well as input from it’s “Smart Cities Advisory Committee.”  This report from MaRS Discovery District explores data trusts as mechanisms to improve the collection, use, and management of personal mobility data, intended as a prototype for use by Ontario municipalities.

Inventor Concentration Boosts Productivity

Jennifer Roche summarizing a recent Enrico Moretti Working Paper, SSTI
Enrico Moretti’s NBER Working Paper “The Effect of High-Tech Clusters on the Productivity of Top Inventors” uses data from 1971 to 2007 on the patents of 823,359 inventors located in 179 cities to assess where innovation occurs. The study finds that more than half of all inventors in the United States’ three dominant high-tech fields — computer science and information technology; semiconductors; and biology and chemistry — increasingly worked in clusters of 10 cities.

How Startups Help Cities Measure Their Economic Development Frontier

Sifan Liu and Joseph Parilla, Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program
Economic development policymakers find it difficult to identify the set of local companies poised to achieve technological breakthroughs, create new markets, and yield quality job growth – what the author’s call the “economic development frontier.” This exploratory brief offers a new analysis that seeks to fill this knowledge gap by better measuring the “economic development frontier” of U.S. metropolitan areas. The authors uses data from the Crunchbase platform to identify 27,415 innovative, young U.S. firms operating in 421 metro areas across 424 technology categories.  These categories range from cutting-edge technologies such as autonomous vehicles, neuroscience, and 3D technology, to niche markets including gamification, career planning, and content delivery networks.

Waterfront Toronto Moving Forward on Sidewalk Labs’ Smart City, But With Limits On Scale, Data Collection

Josh O’Kane, Globe and Mail
Waterfront Toronto’s board of directors voted recently to proceed with a partnership that, if formally approved next March, would allow Sidewalk Labs to build a 12-acre development on Lake Ontario called Quayside. The revised agreement locked in terms that returned the project to its original scale and included government control over privacy and data policy. The agreement also included better terms for Canadian entities to profit from intellectual property generated through new technologies in the community.

Innovation Policy

Testing Innovation in the Real World: Real-World Testbeds

Siri Arntzen, Zach Wilcox, Neil Lee, Catherine Hadfield, Jen Rae, NESTA
NESTA commissioned this research to answer the following questions about the current landscape of innovation testbeds: How are they designed? What works for different purposes? How could they be used more actively? And what can we learn from these examples to spread good practice?  The report defines innovation testbeds as “controlled or bounded environments for testing innovation in real-world, or close to real-world, conditions in the manner (or close to the manner) in which they will be used or operated.” The report analyzes 95 real-world testbeds in an effort to inform policymakers on how they are being used to stimulate innovation.

An Innovation Agenda for Hard-to-Decarbonize Energy Sectors

Colin Cunliff, ITIF
This article focuses on innovation strategies to address three sources of difficult-to-eliminate emissions: firm, dispatchable electricity; hard-to-electrify transport; and industrial-sector emissions. The author emphasizes the need to augment existing innovation policies for renewable energy with greater policy emphasis on achieving fundamental breakthroughs in these ‘hard-to-decarbonize’ energy sectors. The article argues that these three sectors are not sufficiently represented in US federal energy RD&D programs and proposes multiple areas for expanded federal investment.

Statistics & Indicators

Canadian Internet Use Survey

Statistics Canada
The 2018 Canadian Internet Use Survey, sponsored by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, was conducted from November 2018 to March 2019. The survey collected information on the adoption and use of digital technologies by Canadians, including Internet use, household Internet access, demand for online activities and interactions online. The survey examines the use of online government services; use of social networking websites or apps; use of smartphones; digital skills; e-commerce; online work; and issues of online security, privacy and trust. Overall, 94% of Canadians had home Internet access. Among those who did not have home Internet access, reasons included the cost of Internet service (28%) and equipment (19%), and the unavailability of Internet service (8%). Nearly 84% of Internet users bought goods or services online in 2018, spending $57.4 billion, up from $18.9 billion in 2012.

Income Inequality Growing Nationally and in All States, 2006-2018

Colin Edwards, SSTI
This edition of SSTI’s Useful Stats examines trends in the Gini index at the state level from 2006 to 2018, measuring household income inequality that increases as the distribution of income becomes more concentrated within a smaller share of the population.  From 2006 to 2018, income inequality has risen continuously both nationwide and in all states (except the District of Columbia). The average Gini index for this period was highest in the Deep South, a portion of New England, and in California. Income inequality was lowest in the Mountain West and upper central states.

Policy Digest

Innovation Support in the Enterprise Sector: Industry and SMEs

Gernot Hutschenreiter, Johannes Weber and Christian Rammer
OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers

This paper outlines major policy trends in public support of innovation activities in industry and SMEs across OECD countries. In particular, these initiatives facilitate the technological upgrading of existing industries and the development of strategic sectors. The paper summarizes the conclusions of twelve case studies of initiatives in the areas of i) support for innovative enterprises, including innovation clusters; ii) the development of strategic industrial sectors, particularly for the manufacturing sector; and iii) the transition towards new methods of production – Industry 4.0. The authors summarize the policy lessons in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies in these three categories as follows:

i) Support for innovative enterprises, including innovation clusters
Evaluation: The impact of policy initiatives should be monitored via ongoing evaluation. Stability and predictability of public support should be augmented with adaptability to emerging needs.
•Targeting support to specific needs of firms: Some initiatives related to start-ups focus on their specific needs and take account of the entire funding cycle. Commercialization is facilitated via access to specialized technical expertise and research infrastructure for start-ups and SMEs.
•Supporting innovative SMEs through public procurement: Public procurement can foster firm-level innovation by aligning governments’ strategic needs and the development of SME capabilities.

ii) Development of strategic industrial sectors, particularly in manufacturing
Collaboration between industry and science: Initiatives supporting joint research between businesses and research institutes plays an important role for the transformation of existing industries and in supporting emerging sectors.
•Developing regional clusters: Clusters are supported with research infrastructure and public-private partnerships involving co-operative research consortia between academia and industry.
•Combining the expertise and potential of different types of firms: Linking the capacities of large multinational enterprises with the creativity of SMEs and start-ups is an emerging feature of some new initiatives that harness complementary capabilities and reduce financial risks to participating firms.

iii) Transition towards new methods of production – Industry 4.0
•Development of skills and competences: New initiatives supporting transition tend to emphasize both R&D (for new technologies and production processes) and the development of the skills and competencies of the workforce.
•Engaging stakeholders through platforms and networks: Involving public and private actors in the identification of challenges has been helpful in aligning research and the evolving needs of industry. •Diffusion of new technologies: Institutions support technology diffusion by harnessing existing networks and the pooling of resources between universities, intermediaries, private organizations.
•Evaluation of diffusion institutions and initiatives: New evaluation metrics are needed that account for the systemic features of new production processes.


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.

WICK#7 Workshop in Economics of Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge

Turin, Italy, 8-9 January, 2020
The Vilfredo Pareto Doctoral Program in Economics, University of Turin, jointly with BRICK and Collegio Carlo Alberto, are pleased to announce the 7th International PhD Workshop in Economics of Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, sponsored by the Young Scholars Initiative of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET-YSI). The aim of the workshop is to bring together young researchers from different economic areas and provide them with an opportunity to discuss both full and early works. Participants will also receive helpful feedbacks from distinguished faculty members and external scholars. The main topics of the workshop are Economics of Knowledge and Innovation, with a special focus on Firm and Regional Innovation Strategies, Economics of Science, Economics of Networks, Energy and Environmental Economics and their policy implications.

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.

The Organisation, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research

Munich, Germany, 23–24 April, 2020
The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, the Technical University of Munich and BRICK-Collegio Carlo Alberto are organising the annual workshop “The Organisation, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research” at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. Submissions are accepted until 15 January 2020, with particular focus on: Evaluation of science policy; Role of gender and family in scientific research; Organising research activities in universities, PROs and private R&D labs, Spillovers from scientific research, Collaboration and research networks, Scientific careers and mobility, and the Role of ethics, trust and replicability in science.

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