The IPL newsletter: Volume 23, Issue 461

News from the IPL


Dan Breznitz awarded Balsillie Prize for Public Policy

IPL Co-director and University of Toronto University Professor Dan Breznitz has been awarded the Balsille Prize for Public Policy by the Writers’ Trust of Canada for his latest book, Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World, published by Oxford University Press.

David Wolfe nominated to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Council of Canadian Academies

IPL Co-director David Wolfe was recently nominated to serve on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Council of Canadian Academies. The role of the Scientific Advisory Committee is to advise the CCA’s Board on assessment topics, expert panel composition, and peer review.


The Politics of Decarbonization

This is a recording of a March 10 panel focused on the politics of decarbonization. The transition to a post-carbon energy and economic paradigm is a stated priority for all the signatories to the Paris Accord, including Canada. Success in achieving this objective will depend on a complex mix of policy experimentation and coalition building in support of that objective, cutting across virtually every sector of the economy. This panel will explore some of the dimensions of that process and the prospects for success in achieving that objective.

Moderator: David A. Wolfe, IPL Co-Director and Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto Mississauga


  • Brendan Haley, Policy Research Director at Efficiency Canada, a research and advocacy organization based at Carleton University.
  • Sara Hastings-Simon, macro energy system researcher and Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary
  • Nathan Lemphers, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo


The Role of Experimentation in Driving Transformational Innovation in Real Places

Alex Glennie, Dan Breznitz, Greeta Nathan, Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium
This panel featuring IPL Co-Director Dan Breznitz discussed the critical importance of creating transformative innovation strategies and policies that are evidence-driven, rooted in the capabilities and resources of communities, and that acknowledge and take advantage of where a country, region, or local area is situated along the entire process of innovation. Prevailing approaches to innovation policymaking have been heavily influenced by the Silicon Valley model of growth creation, which prioritizes technological innovation. Some cities or regions have benefited from this approach, but it is neither feasible or desirable in every context, and it is unlikely to lead to a step change in terms of directing innovation activities towards achieving transformative societal goals. A culture of exploration and experimentation is required, to develop and continually adapt innovation policies that are fit for purpose, and fit for context.

Rooted in place: Regional innovation, assets, and the politics of electric vehicle leadership in California, Norway, and Québec

Nathan Lemphers, Steven Bernstein, Matthew Hoffmann, & David A. Wolfe, Energy Research & Social Science
In the media, Norway, California, and Québec are widely acknowledged as innovative leaders in transportation electrification. Yet, what does leadership mean and how did these jurisdictions achieve it? We contend that leadership reflects both intentional forethought through early, experimental and innovative policy to promote electric vehicles and the on-the-ground successful outcomes of these policies. All three jurisdictions have embarked on different leadership paths. We argue that these differences are a function of how electromobility policy entrepreneurs engaged unique pre-existing local assets and activated similar political mechanisms of normalization, coalition building and capacity building. When policy actors harness mutually reinforcing political and industrial dynamics, electric vehicle policies can scale up. Eventually, these dynamics may lead to new industrial path development and the decarbonization of the transportation sector.

Into the Scale-up-verse: Exploring the landscape of Canada’s high-performing firms

Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship
Scale-ups, or high-growth firms, are responsible for the vast majority of productivity growth in Canada, making them an immensely powerful tool in the pursuit of Canada’s long-term economic stability and prosperity. However, only 1 in 100 young firms reach scale-up status within their first ten years. How can we harness, support, and amplify the power of scale-ups and their contributions to the Canadian economy?  A collaboration between the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, this new study, Into the Scale-up-verse, takes the first step toward better equipping policymakers to support the success of Canadian firms by unpacking the complexity and nuance in Canada’s diverse scale-up universe. The research was initiated and funded by Delvinia in partnership with Mitacs and the IPL, and conducted jointly with BII&E.  The report analyzes the most recent and detailed data set concerning Canadian business dynamics to provide a novel and comprehensive guide for those in a position—such as academic researchers, industry players, and government policymakers—to design supportive economic policy and facilitate productive conversations about Canada’s scale-ups.

Emerging Models of Networked Industrial Policy: Recent Trends in Automotive Policy in the US and Germany  

Elena Goracinova, Patrick Galvin, David A. Wolfe, Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
The adoption of the USMCA (the United States-Mexico-Canada) trade agreement and the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles has created uncertainty for automotive companies. In response, the need for government efforts to position traditional automotive regions as a source of high-quality, green vehicles is pressing. The policy mix is changing rapidly as the public sector and firms cope with the challenges associated with new trade confrontations and disruptive technologies. The article captures this evolving policy landscape through a comparative analysis of automotive policy with respect to BEVs in the US and Germany. It examines how innovation policies help the sector navigate the current technological transition. We find that theories grounded in traditional comparative political science do not provide an adequate framework to explain the observed similarities and differences in policy trajectories in the two countries. The article adopts insights from the networked industrial policy perspective to better understand the repertoire of policy instruments adopted to manage the changing impact of alternative energy technologies in the automotive industry.
Keywords: automotive; electrification; US; Germany; comparative politics; technological transformation.

Editor's Pick

2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Clean Air, Strong Economy

Government of Canada
The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan is an “ambitious and achievable roadmap that outlines a sector-by-sector path for Canada to reach its emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.” The Plan reflects input from over 30,000 Canadians, provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, industry and the independent Net-Zero Advisory Body. Some of the Plan’s innovation investments include: an investment tax credit to incentivize the development and adoption of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); investing $330 million to triple funding for the Agricultural Clean Technology Program; providing $1.7 billion to extend the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program; providing $400 million for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) charging stations; establishing a Pan-Canadian Grid Council to promote clean electricity infrastructure investments; investing $600 million in the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program to support renewable electricity and grid modernization projects; and investing $250 million to support predevelopment work for large clean electricity projects in collaboration with provinces.

Cities & Regions

Toronto, the Quietly Booming Tech Town

Cade Metz, The New York Times
This article chronicles the rapid growth of Toronto’s tech cluster. The author notes that “for all the excitement around places like Austin and Miami, the biggest tech expansion has been in Canada’s largest city.” Citing CBRE data, the article notes that “Toronto’s tech work force is also growing at a faster clip than any hub in the United States.” The article notes that “thanks to years of investment from local universities, government agencies and business leaders and Canada’s liberal immigration policies, Toronto is now the third-largest tech hub in North America. It is home to more tech workers than Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C., trailing only New York and Silicon Valley.”

DOE Will Assist 22 Communities With Locally Tailored Pathways to Clean Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
This post summarizes the recent announcement of the inaugural communities selected as part of the Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP), a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to help energy-overburdened communities take direct control of their clean energy future. The 22 communities will receive support from DOE to create community-wide action plans that reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and provide long-term jobs and economic opportunities.

Net-zero innovation hubs: 3 priorities to drive America’s clean energy future

Johannes Urpelainen and Chetan Hebbale, Brookings Institute
This report argues that “rather than funding numerous, disparate R&D efforts, the U.S. should concentrate the bulk of its funding on a specific set of topics, technologies, and institutions through net-zero innovation hubs. These hubs would represent a geographically concentrated set of public and private sector facilities, laboratories, and universities dedicated to tackling the most uniquely difficult challenges related to the clean energy transition—ones where we do not already have solutions that simply need scale.”


Research and development personnel, 2019

Statistics Canada
In 2019, the total number of personnel engaged in R&D in Canada rose 2.4% from the previous year to 263,910 full-time equivalents (FTEs). The gain was the result of a 4.4% increase in the number of researchers, whose ranks swelled to 182,760 FTEs.

Innovation Policy

Biden’s FY 2023 budget emphasizes productivity and competitiveness

This SSTI post summarizes the recent The White House’s recently released proposed budget for FY 2023. While funding levels will ultimately be determined by Congress (see SSTI’s previous commentary putting the proposal in context), the president’s budget identifies administration priorities that can indicate future agency actions — for example, last year’s proposal for the National Science Foundation (NSF) included the Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate, and the agency moved forward with the directorate despite receiving no formal authorization or funding level. The FY 2023 budget proposal contains many helpful priorities for regional innovation economies.

Automotive roadmap: driving us all forward

UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

This roadmap brings together the government’s policies designed to support the shift towards greener road transport. The automotive roadmap outlines joint government and industry commitments to achieve the decarbonisation of road transport. It is the first in a series of roadmaps to be published over the course of 2022 for each sector of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, showcasing how the UK is delivering on its green commitments.

Policy Digest

UKRI strategy 2022 to 2027

UK Research & Innovation
The UK government has pledged to reach 2.4% R&D intensity in the UK by 2027, catalyzed by a substantial increase in public investment in R&D, rising to a record £20 billion by 2024 to 2025 and embedding R&D across government departments. To achieve the goal, the government “must attract more than double that in private sector R&D investment.”  The government created the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) chaired by the Prime Minister, to “provide strategic leadership and coordination at Cabinet level.” In addition, the government’s Research and Development (R&D) Roadmap, Innovation Strategy, Plan for Growth, R&D People and Culture Strategy, Integrated Review, Levelling Up, and related strategies across the departments of the UK and Devolved Nations’ governments “all recognize the vital importance of research and innovation to our futures, locally, nationally and globally.”

Also, the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) will “further diversify the UK’s research and innovation investment portfolio with ambitious and pioneering programmes, inspired by the success of the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).”

The report notes that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) “has a unique and critical role to play in this new landscape” as they “are the main investor of taxpayer’s money in research and innovation, spanning all disciplines and sectors.”

The 2022-2027 UKRI strategy is structured around six objectives:

Objective 1: world-class people and careers
Making the UK the top destination for talented people and teams

Objective 2: world-class places
Securing the UK’s position as a globally leading research and innovation nation with outstanding institutions, infrastructures, sectors and clusters across the breadth of the country

Objective 3: world-class ideas
Advancing the frontiers of human knowledge and innovation by enabling the UK to seize opportunities from emerging research trends, multidisciplinary approaches and new concepts and markets

Objective 4: world-class innovation
Delivering the government’s vision for the UK as an innovation nation, through concerted action of Innovate UK and wider UKRI

Objective 5: world-class impacts
Focusing the UK’s world-class science and innovation to target global and national challenges, create and exploit tomorrow’s technologies, and build the high-growth business sectors of the future

Objective 6: a world-class organisation
Making UKRI the most efficient, effective and agile organisation it can be

Links to recent IPL webinars

National Governments & Innovation Policy: Where – and What – Is Utopia?

This is a recording of a January 10 panel focused on national governments and Innovation policy. Canada, the Nordics, Taiwan? In this webinar, panelists examined the diverse roles played by national governments in setting the stage for innovation, as well as the key elements that ought to be considered in formulation of innovation policy in Canada and elsewhere.


  • Susana Borras, Professor, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen Denmark
  • Dan Breznitz, University Professor and Munk Chair of Innovation Studies; Co-Director, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School; Clifford Clark Visiting Economist, Department of Finance, Government of Canada
  • Darius Ornston, Associate Professor, Munk School
  • Joseph Wong, Vice-President, International, University of Toronto; Roz and Ralph Halbert Professor of Innovation, Munk School; Professor, Department of Political Science


  • Rana Foroohar, Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor, Financial Times, and Global Economic Analyst, CNN

From Science to Entrepreneurship

This is a recording of the Nov. 15th, 2021 webinar. There is a plethora of research on university commercialization and technology transfer. However, there is less of a discussion on the skillset and technical capabilities that allow a scientist to become an entrepreneur. In this webinar we will focus on these skills and programs that induce entrepreneurship. Moving from the scientist’s lab, to entrepreneurship courses, to forming a startup, to growing the firm within an incubator or accelerator.


  • Fabiano Armellini, Associate Professor Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • Shiri M. Breznitz, Director, Master of Global Affairs Program; Associate Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • Elicia Maine, W.J. VanDusen Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Academic Director, Invention to Innovation (i2I); Special Advisor on Innovation to the VPRI, Simon Fraser University
  • Sophie Veilleux, Professor, Department of Management of the Faculty of Business Administration at Université Laval
  • Sarah Lubik (moderator), Director of Entrepreneurship; Co-Champion, Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU Lecturer, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University

Canada’s Quantum Internet: Prospects and Perils

This is a recording of the April 20, 2021 webinar that together experts to discuss the political, economic, and scientific implications of quantum communications, for Canada and the world .Speakers: Francesco Bova, Associate Professor, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; Anne Broadbent, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa; Jon Lindsay, Assistant Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and Department of Political Science, University of Toronto; Christoph Simon, Professor and Associate Head, Research, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary; & Dan Patterson (moderator), Technology Reporter, CBS News

Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship in Canada

This is a recording of the March 23rd 2021 webinar focused on the importance of IP protection for entrepreneurship, the intellectual property environment in Canada, and existing support for firms. Panelists discussed issues relating to their firm’s ability to secure IP especially as it relates to IP education and the role of government in supporting IP protection. Speakers: Seray Çiçek,  Ryan Hubbard, Graeme Moffat, Moderator: Shiri Breznitz


21st annual Research Money conference – Canada’s Prosperity Conundrum

May 3-5 2022, Virtual

Post-pandemic recovery is top of mind among leaders and citizens across the globe. Embedded in the discourse of policymakers, business leaders, academic thought leaders, researchers, and civil society is the promise of overcoming a persistent challenge: Canada’s subpar productivity and competitiveness in today’s global knowledge economy. For decades Canadians have been wrestling with an uncomfortable question. Can we maintain the same level of prosperity that grew out of our natural resource endowments in today’s highly competitive, global economy in which knowledge drives wealth creation and improved quality of life? Join us and other prominent leaders as we discuss this and other important questions facing Canada today.

P4IE 2022 International Conference Measuring Metrics that Matter

May 9-11 2022, Ottawa and Online
How to best design innovation indicators for the future? You are invited to contribute to this challenging question during our second international conference on “Policies, Processes and Practices for Performance of Innovation Ecosystems” (P4IE). The hybrid conference will be held online and in-person at Ottawa. You can actively participate by submitting an academic, industry or public policy paper. Topics includes, but are not limited to: New/Real-time innovation indicators; Sustainable, Inclusive, Responsible (SIR) innovation indicators; Measuring the performance of innovation ecosystems; and Science-to-innovation SIR innovation indicators. Submissions of academic extended abstracts due by December 13, 2021 (acceptance notification by February 15). Submissions of policy papers due by January 14, 2022 (acceptance notification by February 14). Submissions of industrial papers due by February 14, 2022 (acceptance notification by March 14).

Global Conference on Economic Geography 2022

June 7-10, Dublin, Ireland
Under the umbrella topic “Territorial Development”, Trinity College Dublin & University College Dublin invites you to participate in the sixth Global Conference on Economic Geography 2022 to be held in Dublin, Ireland. The conference is organized into 13 session themes – see list below which also provides a link to the detailed theme description. All session theme leaders welcome submissions to their respective themes via the submission portal. In addition, there is also a long list of Special Sessions that are associated with these themes – see list further below which again provides a link for a detailed description for each of these. All Special Session organizers welcome submissions again via the submission portal.

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