The IPL newsletter: Volume 25, Issue 503

April 1, 2024

News from the IPL


Rapid Indoor Air Quality Monitoring at Large Scale Events

Online & in-person, April 4, 2024 | 4:00PM - 6:00PM
This event explores how the 2021 environmental study of the UK government’s Events Research Programme helped UK society reopen following a year of lockdowns. This talk will describe the “Environmental Study” of the ERP, a rapid evaluation of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and airborne transmission risk conducted at ten large venues around the UK during live events between April and July 2021. The study, which developed a significant evidence base on environmental risk factors at events, was designed to respond to the policy related questions, and to develop high level guidance for event operators and venue managers on environmental standards and safety at events. Following the programme, the UK government allowed the return of live events in July 2021. The talk will describe the approach taken to collect evidence at scale, and how the cycle of rapid reporting and evaluation was carried out. The talk will also describe the legal, logistical and reputational challenges to the research teams of working in this space and discuss the need for further work on indoor environments, in the context of climate change, the energy crisis and an aging population.

About the speaker: Liora Malki-Epshtein is an Associate Professor in Urban Fluid Mechanics and Air Quality, in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at University College London, and director of the Controlled Active Ventilation Environment Laboratory (CAVE). During the Covid-19 pandemic since April 2020, she worked with Transport for London (TfL) and Veolia on protection measures for bus drivers and waste collection crews, and on reducing risks to passengers on the London transport network. She was the Field studies lead on project AIRBODS, which was set up as a rapid response Covid project to understand disease transmission mechanisms in buildings. In April-July 2021, Liora led the largest Environmental Study of its kind worldwide for the UK Government’s Covid-19 Events Research Programme, a study of air quality and transmission risks that enabled the UK to finally re-open events in culture, music and sports industries following a year-long closure, while improving safety for staff and spectators. These studies have provided quantitative evidence of the state of indoor air quality in the UK in a wide range of real-world settings, to enable evidence-based decision by policy makers and to develop appropriate ventilation and operations guidelines for different sectors. This work is now being explored further in CAVE, a world-first large scale experimental facility dedicated to research air quality and other challenges of indoor environments and building design with particular emphasis on safety, health and wellbeing for building occupants.

Daina Lawrence, The Globe and Mail
IPL Co-Director Dan Breznitz is quoted in this article, which discusses the Conference Board of Canada’s forthcoming 2024 Innovation Report Card (IRC). The report, which is to be released in the coming weeks, gives Canada a “C” for innovation, ranking 15th among 20 peer nations. The board is an independent non-profit think tank that researches and analyzes economic trends, organizational performance and public policy issues. Dan Breznitz notes that in order to reach its full economic potential, Canada needs to recognize and foster regional strengths.


Editor's Pick

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $6 Billion to Transform America's Industrial Sector, Strengthen Domestic Manufacturing, and Slash Planet-Warming Emissions

US Department of Energy (DOE)
This post announces up to $6 billion for 33 projects across more than 20 states to decarbonize energy-intensive industries. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the projects will create and maintain tens of thousands of high-quality jobs and help accelerate the commercial-scale demonstration of emerging industrial decarbonization technologies crucial to meeting the Biden-Harris administration's climate and domestic manufacturing goals. The projects are part of the Industrial Demonstrations Program, managed by DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), and will help strengthen America’s manufacturing and industrial competitiveness. Funding for these projects includes $489 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $5.47 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act. The 33 projects selected for award negotiations represent difficult-to-decarbonize industries, including seven chemicals and refining projects, six cement and concrete projects, six iron and steel projects, five aluminum and metals projects, three food and beverage projects, three glass projects, two process heat-focused projects, and one pulp and paper project. 

Cities & Regions

Collaboration Framework to Accelerate the Low-Carbon Economy and Create Good Jobs Is Released Under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Energy and Resource Table

Natural Resources Canada
This recent press release announces the publication of The Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Energy and Resource Table Framework for Collaboration on the Path to Net Zero. It identifies four areas of economic opportunity to prioritize in a net-zero future: critical minerals; wind and hydrogen development; electrification; and carbon capture and storage. The Collaboration Framework is also supported with federal investments totalling over $2.5 million to make progress toward the two governments' shared commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. In addition, the Collaboration Framework proposes to significantly expand and deepen provincewide engagement on climate action through the NL Regional Table. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Energy and Resource Table (NL Regional Table) is one of nine Regional Tables the Government of Canada has established to date with individual provinces and territories. Launched in June of 2022, the NL Regional Table is helping to advance the province's top economic priorities for a low-carbon future in the province's energy and resource sectors.


Robots, meaning, and self-determination

Milena Nikolova, Femke Cnossen, & Boris Nikolaev, Research Policy
This paper is the first to examine the impact of robotization on work meaningfulness, autonomy, competence, and relatedness, which are essential to motivation and well-being at work. Using surveys of workers and robotization data for 14 industries in 20 European countries spanning 2005–2021, it finds a consistent negative impact of robotization on perceived work meaningfulness and autonomy. Using instrumental variables, it finds that doubling robotization leads to a 0.9 % decrease in work meaningfulness and a 1 % decline in autonomy. To put this in perspective, if the robotization levels of the top 5 industry were to match those of the leading industry in terms of robot adoption in 2020 (equivalent to a 7.5-fold increase), it would result in a decline of 6.8 % in work meaningfulness and 7.5 % in autonomy. The link between robotization, competence, and relatedness is also negative but less robust. The authors also examine how tasks, skills, and socio-demographic characteristics moderate the main relationships. They find that workers with routine tasks experience an even greater negative effect of robotization in terms of declines in their autonomy, competence, and relatedness. However, they also discover that utilizing computers as tools for independent work can help workers maintain a sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness in industries and job roles that adopt robots. The results highlight that by deteriorating work meaningfulness and self-determination, robotization can impact work life above and beyond its consequences for employment and wages.

Industrial carbon pricing the top driver of emissions reductions, new analysis shows

Canadian Climate Institute
This post discusses a recent Canadian Climate Institute paper, Which Canadian climate policies will have the biggest impact by 2030. The paper features the first rigorous analysis attributing emissions reductions to collective and individual climate policies. It examines, first, how policies implemented to date have affected Canada’s emissions trajectory and, second, how major climate policies are expected to impact emissions between 2025 and 2030. Based on modelling by Navius Research, the analysis found that, by 2030, all existing climate policies in Canada combined will prevent 226 megatonnes of carbon pollution—roughly equal to the total annual emissions of Ontario and Quebec. In other words, without the various climate policies provincial, territorial, and federal governments have legislated to date, Canada’s emissions would be more than 40 per cent higher in 2030 than they are currently on track to be. 

Useful Stats: High-growth firms on the decline nationwide

Conor Gowder, SSTI
This SSTI post analyzes new U.S. Census Bureau data on high-growth firms, which reveals significant decreases in the number and share of high-growth firms across the United States. SSTI's analyzes the Business Dynamics Statistics of High Growth Firms (BDS-HG) experimental dataset from the Census Bureau. Specifically, it explores state-level trends for the percentage share of high-growth firms among all firms since the late 1970s.

Innovation Policy

Ontario Investing More than $270 Million To Support New Innovations and Discoveries

Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities
The Ontario government is investing over $278 million in research projects at universities, colleges, research institutes and research hospitals across the province. The funding is being delivered through the Ontario Research Fund and the Early Researcher Awards and supports researchers in making discoveries that help advance the development of innovative new products and technologies. This funding will support 406 research projects across the province, helping institutions attract and retain top research talent, and cover the costs of research operations and infrastructure, including building, renovating and equipping research facilities with laboratories and the latest technology. One prominent project is $9.9 million for the University of Toronto to revitalize the Toronto High Containment Facility — the only level 3 lab that supports the research and clinical needs of partner research hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area. This work will provide the expertise, research and infrastructure necessary to mobilize a rapid response to future emerging infectious diseases.

President Biden Announces Up To $8.5 Billion Preliminary Agreement with Intel under the CHIPS & Science Act

The White House
This post details recently announced funding that catalyzes $100 billion in private investment from Intel to build and expand semiconductor facilities in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico, and Oregon and create nearly 30,000 jobs. The Department of Commerce has reached a preliminary agreement with Intel to provide up to $8.5 billion in direct funding along with $11 billion in loans under the CHIPS and Science Act.

Policy Digest

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
This report is a summary of investments made through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), along with their economic, innovation and public benefits, during the program's first 5 years of operation.

The report summarizes the "key statistics that show the scope and scale of the program's impact" as follows:

  • There are currently over 108 direct-to-business agreements, as well as 10 network agreements that have supported over 900 end-recipients.

  • Together these agreements represent $8.2 billion in SIF contributions. The projects are expected to generate $72 billion of private sector investments in Canada. This suggests that every single dollar of SIF funding is linked to almost 9 dollars of private investment in Canada. The commitments secured through SIF contribution agreements include the creation or maintenance of 113 thousand full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs.

  • While many SIF projects are still in their work phase, meaning they are building their factory or conducting research, a sizable portion have become operational and the results are already being felt. From 2017 to 2022, throughout economic turbulence, SIF funding supported innovation and research and development (R&D) investment. SIF funding spurred $700 million of R&D expenditure in Canada in 2020, or 4% of the nationwide total. In 2021, the amount was $1.2 billion, or 5% of the national total. In 2021 alone, SIF-supported activities accounted for over 4,600 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs.

  • The activities resulting from these projects reach every Canadian province. They span many industrial sectors and technology areas, including agriculture, biomanufacturing, autos and batteries, and aerospace.

  • SIF has also been used to help address 10 distinct Government priorities, including the COVID-19 pandemic response and the strategy to develop Canada's critical minerals assets.

  • Through the Government of Canada's Net Zero Accelerator initiative to mitigate climate change, $8 billion is being deployed through SIF to help support emission reductions in both the short and long term

The report summarizes additional impacts under the following categories:

Fostering and scaling innovation

R&D Spending: Organizations supported through SIF were more likely to increase their R&D spending. It grew by an average of 45% in 2020 and 30% in 2021. This is much higher than the average growth for Canadian businesses over the same periods. For smaller businesses with fewer than 500 employees, the growth in R&D spending was even higher, reaching 84% in 2020 and 49% in 2021. Recipient companies spend twice as much per employee on R&D for their SIF projects as they do on R&D for the rest of their business.

Collaboration: A 2019 survey found that only 18% of Canadian businesses reported innovation-related collaboration. Among SIF recipients, that number is 64%—a more than three-fold advantage. On average, collaborative SIF projects engaged in 8.8 distinct collaborations. From 2017 to 2021, SIF recipients reported a total of 538 collaborations, of which half were with Canadian universities. Furthermore, as Figure 5 shows, 46% of collaborators are located within 150 km of each other.

Intellectual Property: The rate of patent filings for SIF projects is nearly 10 times the rate observed nationwide. SIF projects have resulted in close to 1,000 patents being filed, and 1 in 5 of these are Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filings.

Capital Expenditure Investments: The year-over-year change in CAPEX investments for larger SIF-supported companies (500+ employees) was significantly stronger than for the broader Canadian economy in 2020 (0.2% vs –9.1%). This is shown in Figure 7. Coming out of the pandemic, SIF recipients' CAPEX investments accelerated, with an average reported growth of 36% in 2021, far outpacing Canada's growth of 10% during that year.

Creating jobs for all Canadians

Employment and the workforce of the future: In 2021, SIF direct-to-business projects employed over 4,600 full-time equivalents (up from 3,900 in 2020). Of these, 40% (up from 29% in 2020) were newly hired for the specific project. Furthermore, 80% of the jobs created through SIF projects to-date have been positions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, compared to 9% of jobs in the broader Canadian economy.

Equity, diversity and inclusion: For SIF recipients, 22% of management positions were occupied by women, which is the same as the Canadian benchmark. 13% of senior management positions were held by visible minorities at SIF-supported organizations, compared to the Canadian benchmark of 9%. Persons with disabilities held 1% of senior management positions at SIF-supported organizations, which meets the Canadian benchmark of 1%. 2% of senior management positions at SIF-supported organizations were held by Indigenous people (First Nations, Inuit or Métis), versus the Canadian benchmark of less than 1%.

The green imperative: Created in Budget 2021, the $8 billion Net Zero Accelerator (NZA) initiative, delivered through SIF, thusfar includes 17 agreements representing $3.2 billion in funding. The NZA has 3 pillars: decarbonization of large emitters, industrial transformation, and clean technology and battery ecosystem development. More broadly, since 2017, more than $5 billion has been invested across 50 SIF projects with clean technology components. On average, SIF recipients have invested nearly twice as much in clean technology for their projects, compared to business-as-usual operations.



The 23rd Annual Research Money Conference: Creating the future we want for Canada in 15 years
April 24-25, 2024, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
The primary objective of the 23rd annual R$ conference is to identify where Canada envisions itself in the next 15 years and craft how to reach that future. We’ll analyze the federal budget, assess past attempts to galvanize the country around innovation, hear from other countries how they did it and how they view Canada, learn from Canadian successes in specific sectors and regions, and address challenges that have been hindering us.

Participants will be able to record their ideas and commentary about the sessions in real time. The conference will include an interactive session during which participants identify priorities for future action.


June 9-11, 2024, Gothenburg, Sweden
ISS2024 is the 20th biennial conference of The International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society. The conference takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden, between Sunday 9th June and Tuesday 11th June, 2024. The ISS2024 conference theme is "Transformation: Creative Accumulation and Creative Destruction in the Economy". The Deadline for submitting abstracts is Jan. 15th 2024.

2024 RSA Annual Conference: Global Challenges, Regional Collaboration and the Role of Places

11-14 June 2024, Florence, Italy
The Regional Studies Association’s Annual Conference 2024 #RSA24 is being held in partnership with the Department of Economics and Business Sciences and Department of Architecture, University of Florence, Italy. This four-day conference brings together academics and policymakers to exchange news, views and research findings from the fields of regional studies and science, regional and economic development, policy and planning.

2024 Industry Studies Association Annual Conference

June 13-15, 2024, Sacramento, CA, USA
This year's ISA conference is titled Empowering Community Wellbeing: Clean Energy, Sustainability and Industrial Strategy and will be held at California State University, Sacramento. In the heart of the world’s largest subnational economy, California, the Industry Studies Association proudly presents its annual conference with a theme that resonates with the future of our planet and communities. The conference will explore the dynamic interplay between California's pioneering efforts in clean energy and sustainability and their profound impacts on industrial strategy and community wellbeing around the world. Call for Paper and Panel Submissions

September 11-13, 2024, Brussels, Belgium
The conference theme is 'Blurring Boundaries and Ambiguous Roles: Universities and the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.' The deadline for abstract submissions is February 15, 2024.


Ikerbasque Research Fellows 2024

The Basque Foundation for Science is launching a new international call for 20 positions for promising young postdoctoral researchers to strengthen scientific research in the Basque Country. 5-YEAR POSITION: During the last year the researcher can be assessed to obtain a permanent position. PHD DEGREE: Between Jan 2013-Dec 2021. APPLICATIONS FROM WOMEN Are especially welcome.

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