The IPL newsletter: Volume 23, Issue 481

March 15, 2023

News from the IPL


Does Canada have an effective innovation policy?

March 16, 2023 |11:00AM - 12:00PM, Online via Zoom

Since 2000 Canada has witnessed a proliferation of Innovation Strategies, including the 2017 Innovation and Skills Plan. Yet our innovation performance continued to deteriorate throughout this period. The 2022 Federal Budget began with the admission, “Our third pillar for growth is a plan to tackle the Achilles’ heel of the Canadian economy: productivity and innovation.” What factors best explain Canada’s dismal innovation performance over the past two decades? Join us for an IPL webinar with two of the most insightful analysts of Canadian innovation policy.

Poster for March 16th IPL webinar titled Does Canada have an effective innovation policy

Editor's Pick

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
This report provides an independent examination of the mix of UK organisations performing RDI, with recommendations to make the most of the UK's research organisational landscape, ensuring it is effective, sustainable and responsive to global challenges. The Review of the Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape was announced in July 2021 in the UK Innovation Strategy. This independent review was led by Nobel Laureate Sir Paul Nurse, Chief Executive and Director of the Francis Crick Institute. The release of the report overlapped with the release of the new Science and Technology Framework from the newly created Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (see Policy Digest section below for details).

Cities & Regions

The Regional Development Trap in Europe

Andreas Diemer, Simona Iammarino, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Michael Storper, Economic Geography
The concept of regional development trap refers to regions that face significant structural challenges in retrieving past dynamism or improving prosperity for their residents. This article introduces and measures the concept of the regional development trap for regions in Europe. The concept draws inspiration from the middle-income trap in international development theory but widens it to shed light on traps in higher-income countries and at the regional scale. The article proposes indicators—involving the economic, productivity, and employment performance of regions relative to themselves in the immediate past, and to other regions in their respective countries and elsewhere in Europe—to identify regions either in a development trap or at significant near-term risk of falling into it. Regions facing development traps generate economic, social, and political risks at the national scale but also for Europe as a whole.



OECD Economic Surveys: Canada

This OECD Economic Survey includes key policy insights on inflation, fiscal buffers, strengthening the business environment, supporting the vulnerable and raising labour force participation. The second half of the report focuses on Canada's transition to net zero emissions. This includes sections focused on improving Canada's carbon pricing system, accelerating decarbonisation of electricity, reducing emissions from oil and gas production, policies to reduce road transport emissions, improving the energy performance of Canada's buildings, and policies to reduce the cost of climate change.

Introducing AI at Scale, a report by Scale AI. 

In this research report, Scale AI provides an in-depth analysis of the state of AI in Canada and in peer countries to identify potential scenarios for the evolution of the Canadian AI sector.

Patenting with the stars: Where are technology leaders leading the labor market?

David Autor, Anna Salomons, and Bryan Seegmillerhis, Brookings
This paper considers the potential labor market consequences of the innovative activity of the largest U.S. firms (‘superstars’) over eight decades. Superstars generate a large share of innovations, and their innovations are technologically distinct and differentially impactful relative to those of other firms. Leveraging a novel patent-level measure of innovations’ labor-augmenting and labor-automating potential, the report shows that superstar innovations are more likely to augment labor compared to innovations pioneered by other firms, especially in recent decades. Workers of different skill types do not benefit equally, however: top firms’ differential labor augmentation is largely limited to high-paid occupations. This suggests modern-day superstar firms’ innovations contribute to the diverging labor market fortunes of high- and low-skilled workers.

Innovation Policy

White House proposes robust innovation funding for FY 2024 and beyond

This post summarizes the recently released President’s Budget for FY 2024. The post notes that the Biden administration is making a strong statement of support for science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Highlights from the request include more than $4 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, $300 million for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional Innovation Engines, $277 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and a total of $30 million for the three primary Small Business Administration (SBA) innovation programs.

Innovate, compete and win: A roadmap for Canada's energy transition

Business Council of Canada
Addressing climate change while preparing for the coming energy transition is one of the foremost public policy challenges facing Canada today. A coherent national strategy should position Canada to be a key player in enhancing global energy security, expanding the country’s capacity to develop and deliver cleaner energy solutions, and accelerating the ability of organizations to reduce their emissions and succeed in a low-carbon economy. But given Canada’s ambitious climate targets and the global race for competitive advantage in new energy technologies, there is no time to waste. This report sets out how the public and private sectors can work together on the most critical elements that will drive the country’s economic and environmental security.

The Hon Ed Husic MPMinister for Industry and Scienceand Minister for Finance, Senator Katy Gallagher
This joint media release details the recently-passed National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) Corporation Bil. The bill aims to deliver one of the largest peacetime investments in Australian industry and Australian manufacturing by establishing the NRF, which will help secure high paying jobs for workers across the country, including in the regions, outer suburbs and remote communities. The NRF will invest $15 billion across priority areas of the economy including renewables and low emissions technologies, medical science, transport, value-adding in resources, value-adding in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, defence capability and enabling technologies.

Critical Next Steps to Ensure Canada’s Future Competitiveness

Bentley Allan and Derek Eaton, The Transition Accelerator
Canada needs a smart response to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan. This will require more than just subsidies in the same old industries: we must make sure that the public money that has already been offered is used wisely to develop supply chains and attract the private funding required to compete. To achieve this, Canada needs a net-zero industrial policy that will help it strategically compete in sectors where it has substantial economic potential in order to develop a prosperous future. Critical Next Steps to Ensure Canada’s Future Competitiveness looks at key elements of a net zero economy and how to set effective strategic goals for public-private partnerships to build economic prosperity. The global net-zero challenge is no longer just about emissions—it is the dominant global driver of future competitiveness.

Policy Digest

Plan to forge a better Britain through science and technology unveiled

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street, The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, and The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
The Prime Minister and Technology Secretary recently launched the UK government’s plan to "cement the UK’s place as a science and technology superpower by 2030, alongside a raft of new measures backed by over £370 million to boost investment in innovation, bring the world’s best talent to the UK, and seize the potential of ground-breaking new technologies like AI."

The new Science and Technology Framework from the newly created Department for Science, Innovation and Technology "will challenge every part of government to better put the UK at the forefront of global science and technology this decade through 10 key actions – creating a coordinated cross-government approach." The announcement summarized these 10 key actions as follows:

  • identifying, pursuing and achieving strategic advantage in the technologies that are most critical to achieving UK objectives

  • showcasing the UK’s S&T strengths and ambitions at home and abroad to attract talent, investment and boost our global influence

  • boosting private and public investment in research and development for economic growth and better productivity

  • building on the UK’s already enviable talent and skills base

  • financing innovative science and technology start-ups and companies

  • capitalising on the UK government’s buying power to boost innovation and growth through public sector procurement

  • shaping the global science and tech landscape through strategic international engagement, diplomacy and partnerships

  • ensuring researchers have access to the best physical and digital infrastructure for R&D that attracts talent, investment and discoveries

  • leveraging post-Brexit freedoms to create world-leading pro-innovation regulation and influence global technical standards

  • creating a pro-innovation culture throughout the UK’s public sector to improve the way our public services run

The plan will be a "cross-government endeavour led by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to bring together responsibility for the UK’s world class research and innovation system with the 5 technologies of tomorrow – quantum, AI, engineering biology, semiconductors, future telecoms plus life sciences and green technologies, into one single department for the first time."

The plan summarizes an initial package of projects to drive forward the actions of the Science and Technology Framework as follows:

  • £250 million investment in 3 truly transformational technologies to build on the UK’s global leadership in AI, quantum technologies and engineering biology, so they can help a range of industries tackle the biggest global challenges like climate change and health care. This forms part of our commitment to the 5 technologies within the science and technology framework, which also includes semiconductors and future telecoms

  • publication of Sir Paul Nurse’s Independent Review of the Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape with recommendations to make the most of the UK’s research organisations, ensuring they are effective, sustainable and responsive to global challenges

  • testing different models of funding science, to support a range of innovative institutional models, such as Focused Research Organisations (known as FROs), working with industry and philanthropic partners to open up new funding for UK research. For example, this could include working with a range of partners to increase investment in the world leading UK Biobank, to support the continued revolution in genetic science

  • up to £50 million to spur co-investment in science from the private sector and philanthropists to drive the discoveries of the future, subject to business cases. The government is already talking to Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, about additional support of up to $20 million as part of this work

  • £117 million of existing funding to create hundreds of new PhDs for AI researchers and £8 million to find the next generation of AI leaders around the world to do their research in the UK

  • a £50 million uplift to World Class Labs funding to help research institutes and universities to improve facilities so UK researchers have access to the best labs and equipment they need to keep producing world-class science, opening up entirely new avenues for economic growth and job creation

  • a £10 million uplift to the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund, totalling £50 million, to boost the UK’s next tech and science start-ups who could be the next Apple, Google or Tesla

  • plans to set up an Exascale supercomputer facility – the most powerful compute capability which could solve problems as complex as nuclear fusion – as well as a programme to provide dedicated compute capacity for important AI research, as part of the response to the Future of Compute Review

  • £9 million in government funding to support the establishment of a quantum computing research centre by PsiQuantum in Daresbury in the North-West


16th Workshop on The Organisation, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research

13 – 14 April 2023
The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition and TUM are organising the annual workshop “The Organisation, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research” at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich. We aim to attract contributions from both junior and senior scholars on topics related to the organisation, economics and policy of scientific research. A minimum number of slots are reserved for junior researchers (PhD students or postdoc scholars who obtained their PhD in 2020 or later). Please submit previously unpublished papers or extended abstracts (min 3 pages) by 15 January 2023. We strive to notify authors by 27 February 2023.

22nd Annual Research Money Conference and Webinar Series - Reimagining Innovation: A New Strategy in a Disrupted World

18-19 April 2023 / Ottawa, ON
The 22nd Annual Research Money conference will be taking a deep dive into innovation policy weeks after the federal budget comes down from Ottawa. Over the span of two days, keynotes and expert panels will examine Canada's innovation policy, the implications of federal budget 2023, the newly announced Canadian Innovation Corporation and how a focused industrial policy can improve Canada's productivity and innovation performance. This highly anticipated conference attracts 200+ leaders and practitioners from academia, government, industry, finance and the not-for-profit sector. Following the in-person conference, the R$ Webinar Series will continue the conversation from May to November 2023, exploring a range of topics related to the conference theme in a series of free webinars.

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

May 24-26, 2023, Georgia Institute of Technology Global Learning Center, Atlanta
The Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy provides a showcase for the highest quality scholarship from around the world addressing the challenges and characteristics of science and innovation policy and processes.


June 27 to 29, 2023, Toronto
The 6th International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP6) is coming to Toronto! Organized by IPPA, ICPP6 is hosted by the Toronto Metropolitan University's Faculty of Arts and Public Policy graduate studies programs and will take place at the University's premises in downtown Toronto from June 27 to 29, 2023, with a Pre-Conference on June 26. This conference includes a panel chaired by IPL Co-director Dan Breznitz called "Organizational Evolution in Innovation Policy."

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