The IPL newsletter: Volume 23, Issue 463

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 contribution of students to regional economies: reframing the regional innovation systems approach

Shiri M. Breznitz, Helen Lawton Smith, & Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen, Regional Studies
This intro to a recent Regional Studies special issue is co-authored by IPL affiliated faculty member Shiri M. Breznitz. The role of universities in regional development has grown significantly over the past two decades. One strand of analysis has been that of the university in regional innovation systems (RIS). However, the contribution of university students has largely been neglected. This special issue contributes to the RIS literature by unpacking the RIS concept through exploring this specific aspect of university engagement in regional economies. The nine papers collectively offer an understanding of the effects of student activity upon the knowledge, skill and entrepreneurial bases of regions. The papers provide evidence and analysis from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

The pandemic forced Canadian business out of a tech lethargy. What happens next?

Daniel Munro, Creig Lamb, IRPP Policy Options
This IRPP Policy Options article presents findings co-authored by IPL Fellow and Director Policy Projects Daniel Munro. The article asserts that Canadian businesses need a fundamental shift to adopt and invest in new technology more quickly and keep up with other countries. The findings draw from the author’s Shift Insights report titled ‘Canada’s Digital Imperative: Enabling Innovation and Growth Through Technology Adoption.’

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

Nathan LemphersSteven 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

EU industrial technology roadmap calls for full speed development and scaling-up of innovative low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive industries

The European Commission
The Commission recently published the new European Research Area (ERA) industrial technology roadmap for low-carbon technologies, which provides a list of key emerging low-carbon technologies for energy-intensive industries and ways to leverage R&I investments to accelerate their development and uptake in energy-intensive industries. The roadmap complements the revised Industrial Emissions Directive, as proposed on 5 April, which will help reach EU’s 2050 zero pollution ambition announced under the European Green Deal. The draft law introduces a revised framework for preventing and controlling industrial pollutants emissions from large industrial installations. See below in the Policy Digest section of this newsletter for a summary of this roadmap for low-carbon technologies.

Cities & Regions

Commission announces 100 cities participating in EU Mission for climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030

The European Commission
The Commission recently announced the 100 EU cities that will participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, the so-called Cities Mission. The 100 cities come from all 27 Member States, with 12 additional cities coming from countries associated or with the potential of being associated to Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme (2021-2027).


Guide to OECD TiVA Indicators, 2021 edition

Joaquim Martins Guilhoto, Colin Webb and Norihiko Yamano, OECD
The goods and services we buy are composed of inputs from various countries around the world. However, the flows of goods and services within these global production chains are not always reflected in conventional measures of international trade. The Trade in Value-Added (TiVA) indicators address this issue by considering the value added by each country in the production of goods and services that are consumed worldwide. This guide presents the TiVA indicators published by OECD. The latest indicators were generated using the 2021 release of the OECD Inter-Country Input-Output (ICIO) tables which cover the period 1995 to 2018. The indicators are provided for 66 economies and the rest of the world (including all OECD, European Union, ASEAN and G20 countries) and a selection of region aggregates and, for 45 unique industries and related aggregates (such as total manufactures and total services) based on the ISIC Rev. 4 classification.

State ownership and technology adoption: The case of electric utilities and renewable energy

Bjarne Steffen, Valerie Karplus, & Tobias Schmidt, Research Policy

Technology adoption is crucial to address pressing public policy issues such as climate change, but the role of ownership structure in adoption decisions is not well understood. The low-carbon energy transition in the electricity industry is a case in point. Following market liberalization, the electricity industry in many countries is now characterized by a co-existence of state-owned and private utilities. The authors bring together the economic literatures on innovation and ownership to derive hypotheses of how ownership could affect renewable energy adoption by utilities. Focusing on data from incumbent utilities in the European Union (EU) during 2005–2016, they test these hypotheses using regression analyses and qualitative analysis of investment rationales for ten utilities. Results suggest that in the EU, state-owned utilities have a higher tendency to invest in renewables. The paper finds evidence that state ownership interacts with the existence of pro-adoption policies and state enforcement capabilities. Based on our findings, we discuss broader implications for the role of state-owned enterprises in technological change in the energy sector and beyond.

Innovation Policy

Where are the robots? The Surprising Deceleration of Technology in Canadian Workplaces

Jim Stanford, Centre for Future Work
This recent report on innovation and automation in Canada’s economy finds that Canada’s adoption of new technology has surprisingly slowed down in recent years. This report was published by the Centre for Future Work’s PowerShare project, in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and with support from the Atkinson Foundation. The author reviews nine empirical indicators of Canadian innovation, technology adoption, and robotization. They paint a worrisome picture that Canadian businesses have dramatically reduced their innovation effort since the turn of the century, and are lagging well behind other industrial countries in putting new technology to work in the real economy. The report makes 6 policy recommendations to improve innovation and technology adoption in Canada, including reforming fiscal incentives, expanding publicly-funded R&D, nurturing industries that use more robots and machinery, and giving workers more say in how technological change is implemented in workplaces.

Industrial policy and comparative political economy: A literature review and research agenda

Fabio Bulfone, Competition & Change

The Great Recession renewed calls for a return of state activism in support of the European economy. The widespread nationalizations of ailing companies and the growing activism of national development banks led many to celebrate the re-appearance of industrial policy. Despite this reappraisal, however, comparative political economy (CPE) contributions to the study of industrial policy are still scarce. This review article critically overviews the existing literature linking CPE and industrial policy meeting three goals. First, to trace the evolution of the goals, protagonists, and policy instruments of industrial policy in the European Union (EU) since the post-war period. Second, to provide a periodization of the evolution of industrial policy based on the distinction between the inward-looking forms of state intervention prevalent until the late 1970s and the open-market industrial policy of later decades. Third, to outline future research pathways based on the integration between CPE, heterodox economics, and economic geography.

Systems of innovation, diversification, and the R&D trap: A case study of Kuwait

Husam ArmanSimona IammarinoJ Eduardo Ibarra-OlivoNeil Lee, Science and Public Policy
The relationship between research and development (R&D) investment and economic development is well established. Yet, at a global scale, the resource-rich countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are consistent outliers in this relationship, combining rich-world national incomes with R&D expenditure of developing countries. This paper uses a case study on Kuwait to illustrate a particular form of developmental trap, a version of the resource curse, which makes it irrational for private business firms to invest in R&D and innovation. Based on an analysis of the literature and secondary data, focus groups, and an original survey of large manufacturing firms, we argue that a narrow focus on R&D-led diversification of economic activity ignores the systemic problems faced by Kuwait and, particularly, the unsuitable supply of skills and capabilities provided by the national education and training system.

Policy Digest

ERA industrial technology roadmap for low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive industries

European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
This first industrial technology roadmap under the new European research area (ERA) provides an evidence base on the state of play of low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive industries in the EU and available support instruments, and points to possible research and innovation action in view of accelerating development and uptake of these technologies. These possible ways forward build on contributions from industry, other research and innovation stakeholders, Member States, and relevant European partnerships. This roadmap will feed into the transition pathway for the energy-intensive industries ecosystem under the EU industrial strategy and supports the work to accelerate the green and digital transitions under the ERA policy agenda. EU industrial technology roadmap calls for full speed development and scaling-up of innovative low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive industries, such as steels, chemicals, and cement.

Key opportunities for action

In order to make best use of the public toolbox to leverage private R&I investment, to
increase cross-sector cooperation and accelerate deployment, the Roadmap summarizes the following opportunities for action:

  • Assess the potential for establishing an industrial alliance or similar initiative for low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive industries based upon the Processes4Planet and the Clean Steel Partnerships, as referred to in the 2020 New Industrial Strategy. Such initiatives should have a special focus on cross-sectoral technologies linked to the energy efficiency of the industrial processes and use and integration of renewables. Implementing this cross-sectoral approach and the synergies identified by the roadmap would allow a more efficient use of the public toolbox to accelerate decarbonisation and independence from gas towards clear targets. In this context, relevant hub structures could facilitate investment into development and uptake of cross-sectoral low-carbon industrial technologies. Awareness raising actions and expert discussions about private R&I investment under the EU taxonomy for sustainable finance and about existing national support structures for uptake could help increasing R&I investments.
  • Facilitate specific national sectoral and cross-sectoral strategies or programmes with key stakeholders as part of ERA policy agenda. This can include joint discussions between the ERA Forum and the Strategic Energy Technology (SET)- Plan’s working party on energy efficiency in industry and/or peer counselling and working under the policy support facility and mutual learning exercise. R&I input into the European Semester could facilitate better matching of ERDF and national funding by Member States with a focus on the highest emitting Member States and regions.
  • Establish a community of practice to facilitate authorisation for FOAK (first-of-a-kind) installation for low-carbon industrial technologies, building upon similar approaches under the European Chips Act, the Regulatory Hubs Network (RegHub) under the regulatory fitness and performance programme (REFIT), EU recommendations for approval processes for renewable energy installations, the Hubs4Circularity community of practice and involvement of existing networks of relevant agencies.
  • Improve the knowledge on patenting for green technologies and for energy-intensive industries, such as cement and steel, through more granular sector analysis, and through enabling simpler online searchers for existing green patents.
  • Facilitate further valorisation by exploring with industry the opportunity to open up IP on central (cross-sectoral) green inventions, widening the access to IP for licensing (e.g. patent pool) and knowledge transfer.
  • Cooperate with European standardisation organisations (e.g. CEN, CENELEC) and industrial partnerships to identify and fill main standardisation gaps for innovative low-carbon industrial technologies

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