The IPL newsletter: Volume 5, Issue 86

News from the IPL


This newsletter is published by The Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and sponsored by the Ministry of Research and Innovation. The views and ideas expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Ontario Government.



Canada Holds its Own in High-Tech Acquisitions

According to the CATAAlliance the recent impression that foreign companies are buying up all the Canadian high-tech companies is decidedly false.In three of the past five years, Canadian software companies acquired more foreign ones than foreigners acquired Canadians. In two of those years, 2001 and 2003, the value of the foreign companies acquired exceeded the value of the Canadian ones bought by foreigners.

NRC Nurturing the Growth of a Biomedical Technology Cluster in Winnipeg

In the Spring of 2004, the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) in Winnipeg began breaking ground for a new industry partnership facility. The facility will drive Manitoba’s life sciences sector and seed the growth of a biomedical technology cluster. The facility, known as the Centre for the Commercialization of Biomedical Technology, is the result of a unique partnership involving the Government of Manitoba and a national not-for-profit organization, Biomedical Commercialization Canada. The Manitoba Government is investing $2M in NRC to establish the Centre and create the technology commercialization services.


Editor's Pick



America’s Biotech and Life Science Clusters: San Diego’s Position and Economic Contributions

Ross DeVol, Perry Wong, Junghoon Ki, Armen Bedroussian and Rob Koepp, The Miliken Institute with DeLoitte & Touche LLP

According to this new study only a handful of metropolitan areas have the critical mass necessary to ensure the sustainability of their local biotech communities. At the top of the list is San Diego, followed closely by Boston and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro area. Only another nine are even in the running. The study measures each metro’s strength in five categories: R&D inputs, risk capital, human capital, biotech workforce and current impact. San Diego places first in R&D inputs and current impact. San Jose is first in the risk capital category, while Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill is first in the human capital and biotech workforce categories.



Innovation Policy

Laboratories of Innovation: State Bioscience Initiatives 2004

Battelle Technology Partnership Practice and SSTI

This report updates a previous report examining the distribution of bioscience employment and state support initiatives released in 2001. This report describes initiatives in all 50 states and presents data on size, composition and distribution of the bioscience throughout the 50 states. The report finds that more than 800,000 people are employed in the biosciences throughout the country, about half of the states have a sizeable employment in at least one subsector of the biosciences, and that states vary greatly in the composition of their biosciences bases.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

The Role of Regional Innovation Systems in a Globalizing Economy: Comparing Knowledge Bases and Institutional Frameworks of Nordic Clusters

Bjorn Asheim and Lars Coenen, DRUID

The analysis of the role and importance of different types of regional innovation systems must take place within a context of the actual knowledge base of various industries in the economy as well as the institutional framework, as the innovation processes of firms are strongly shaped by these factors. This paper distinguishes between two types of knowledge base: analytical and synthetic. These types indicate different mixes of tacit and codified knowledge, codification possibilities and limits, qualifications and skills, required organizations and institutions involved, as well as specific competitive challenges from a globalizing economy. The different knowledge bases of industries also have implications for the definitional relations and analytical distinctions between clusters and regional innovation systems. These arguments are examined with reference to empirical examples from a survey of Nordic clusters.

Creating and Growing Technology Clusters: Observations and Best Practices from the NRC Managers Engaged in the Creation and Development of Technology Based Clusters

J Andre Potworowski, Technology Management Associates

This report is an anecdotal and analytical handbook for describing some critical best practices in the creation and growth of technology clusters. It was developed primarily to enable NRC senior research officers and Institute staff involved in cluster creation to become more conversant with cluster concepts and organizational strategies. Clusters are more than a collection of firms. They provide a unique environment for accelerating technological innovation, nurturing new start-up firms, attracting investment and generating economic growth. The report addresses some basic questions: Why are clusters interesting and important? How do NRC officers start building a technology cluster? What are some “best practices”? And, what are some of the “lessons learned” from NRC’s rich experience of the last two or three decades?


Statistics & Indicators


Cross-Border Acquisitions: A Canadian Perspective

Michael Marth, Statistics Canada

This paper presents an analysis of cross-border mergers and acquisitions from a Canadian perspective. Both non-resident takeovers of Canadian companies and Canadian takeovers of foreign companies are examined by industry and region for the 1997 to 2002 period. In addition, the analysis highlights the use of share-exchanges as a means to finance these acquisitions.


DRUID Summer Conference on Industrial Dynamics, Innovation and Development

Copenhagen, Denmark, 14-16 June, 2004

This conference aims to promote the general understanding of the interplay between industrial dynamics, innovation and development; investigate arrangements organized at various scales to enhance and utilize knowledge geared towards economic development; examine the role of entrepreneurship and innovation at various stages of economic development; the geographical reach and development consequences of knowledge spillovers; and to consider the implications for managerial strategy and public policy. Participation in the conference is restricted. Potential participants must supply a detailed abstract of at least 2 pages to no later than January 30, 2004.

THECIS Workshop – Bioenergy

Edmonton, 15 June, 2004

The workshop is designed for individuals interested in the commercial potential of bioenergy in Alberta. The workshop will provide an overview of the global bioenergy field, and identify some specific opportunities where Alberta has a competitive advantage. Some Canadian initiaves on bioenergy will also be reviewed. The output will feed into the western Canadian innovaton conference – InnoWest 2004. Collaboration is the key to innovation. This is an opportunity for individuals and companies interested in the commercial potential for bioenergy to learn of opportunities in Alberta and meet like minded people.

The 4th Congress on Proximity Economics Proximity, Networks and Co-ordination

Marseilles, 17-18 June, 2004

This conference is geared towards all of the scientific community interested in the proximity concept, as it relates to everything from industrial organization to networks of public health.   The call for proposals, which is open until October 31st, 2003, will give priority to either theoretical or empirical communications likely to produce a better understanding of the conceptual links between proximity, networks and co-ordination.

ISPIM 2004 Conference – Successfully Creating Innovative Products and Services: Integrating Academia, Business and Consulting

Oslo, 20-24 June, 2004

This conference features academic papers and presentations from industry plus workshops elaborating on the conference theme. Delegates will have the opportunity to submit a poster on the conference theme as part of their conference fee. Important deadlines are 25 February 2004 (extended from 11 February) for abstracts, 19 April 2004 for full papers, presentations and posters.

MMO’s Partnerships 2004

Toronto, 22 June, 2004

Come draw from an unprecedented mix of expertise from industry and academia at the materials and manufacturing community’s networking event of the year. With more than 275 exhibitors and 1,100 participants, Materials and Manufacturing Ontario’s annual conference and dinner is a day of sharing best practices, emerging research, technical expertise, industry trends and new ideas for future growth.

Foresight Training Course for Practitioners and Organizers

Manchester, UK, 28 June – 2 July, 2004

Now in its sixth year, the annual PREST Foresight training course provides an intensive, practically-oriented introduction to Foresight for those who might be involved in Foresight activities, whether as a sponsor, organizer or practitioner. Past attendees have included senior managers and practitioners from companies, intergovernmental organizations, research institutes, and government departments. The course is residential and is organized around parallel streams of lectures and practical work that enables participants to experience the relevance of each lecture and the realities of Foresight activity. The course draws upon PREST’s extensive experience of organizing and researching Foresight activities across Europe and beyond. This includes direct assistance to more than a dozen countries’ national Foresight exercises, close cooperation with the EC and UNIDO, and facilitating Foresight activities in public and private organizations.

Organizations, Innovation and Complexity: New Perspectives on the Knowledge Economy

Manchester, UK, 9-10 September, 2004

This conference explores the concept of the knowledge economy from a complexity perspective, with a particular emphasis on the emergence of innovation and the self-organization and self-transformation of economic systems. The broad themes will include conceptual thinking; modeling/simulation and empirical/case Studies. Key questions address how new ideas emerge and translate into a change of understanding, how knowledge generation processes vary within firms, how market feedback stimulates a search for new understanding and how contextual and historical factors can constrain or empower the production and use of knowledge.

Patent Policy: Using, Abusing and Reforming

Duke University, 17-19 September, 2004

It has long been recognized that the patent system provides a unique means for trading off ex ante
innovation incentives against the ex post inefficiencies of monopoly power. The current system of patent acquisition and protection is now frequently criticized on numerous grounds, including its manipulability, its susceptibility to abuse and holdup, its regional specificity, its differential treatment of leaders and laggards, and the agency costs that are present not only among business competitors, but among the very bureaucrats and judges who administer the system itself. The
conference intends to explore these ideas further, bringing together leading scholars from law schools, business schools, and economics departments. Submission deadline: May 1, 2004.

Continuous Innovation: Strategic Priorities for the Global Knowledge Economy

Sydney, Australia, 22-25 September, 2004

Continuous innovation is the ongoing process of initiating, developing, operating and improving new and existing configurations of products, market approaches, processes, technologies and competencies, organization and management systems. As organizations strive to achieve a synergistic balance between short-term oriented, operationally-effective exploitation strategies and longer-term, flexibility-oriented exploration strategies, the rapid growth of the global knowledge economy has placed learning at the centre of this critical balance. The 5th International CINet 2004 conference has as its theme “Continuous Innovation: Strategic Priorities for the Global Knowledge Economy” and aims to address these key issues for organizational survival and growth.

Hydrogen & Fuel Cells 2004 Conference and Trade Show

Toronto, 25-28 September, 2004

As society shifts towards the Greener World, it is increasingly important that the team-work necessary to achieve and meet our challenges and objectives be effectively integrated, shared and understood across disciplinary and business boundaries. In planning for the September 2004 Meeting in Toronto seven such inter-related themes have been identified: Hydrogen technology progress, fuel cells, economics & policy, renewable hydrogen, demonstrations, investment & marketing options, and climate change. We invite you to submit abstracts for oral and/or poster presentations to be presented to an international audience of hydrogen and fuel cell industry leaders. Submission deadline: March 17, 2004.

E-Commerce to E-Economy: Strategies for the 21st Century 

Ottawa, 27-28 September, 2004

The spread of Internet-based technologies throughout society has become the dominant economic reality of the 21st century. The e-economy – the use of information and communication technologies for product and process innovation across all sectors of the economy – has emerged as the primary engine of productivity and growth for the global economy. Successful economic strategies will enhance our capacity to adopt and exploit these technologies to create competitive advantage. The goals of this conference are to highlight the importance of the Internet and e-business to productivity, competitiveness and economic growth; assess Canada’s progress as an e-economy, its future challenges and opportunities; and establish strategic priorities for government, business and academia.

Constructing Competitive Advantage

Ottawa, 28 September – 1 October, 2004

TCI’s 7th annual conference will closely examine and exchange experiences concerning how firms can be grown in a cluster, how clusters can be branded and get products to market, how clusters interact, and how an active strategy can either grow or stunt the future prospects of a cluster. The program includes an introduction workshop on cluster, cluster site visits, an academic summit and many guest speakers and mini-forums.

Photonics North 2004

Ottawa, 27-29 September, 2004

Building on the success of OptoCanada, held in Ottawa in May 2002, the Canadian Photonics Consortium and the Ottawa Photonics Cluster are collaborating to sponsor Photonics North 2004. The Conference is chaired by the CEO of Siemens Canada, Dr. Albert Maringer, and is being managed by SPIE. Leading photonics experts from around the world will be participating. Suggested topics for papers range from Biophotonics to Telecommunications Networking. Among the special features of the Conference will be a parallel program on the first day focusing on doing business with Germany, with a variety of speakers from Germany, as well as a student program organized by Photonics Research Ontario on the second day. The deadline for submission of abstracts is March 15, 2004.

Public Science in Liberal Democracy: The Challenge to Science and Democracy 

Saskatoon, 14-16 October, 2004

The conference will include papers presented by major international scientists from academia, business and government as well as academics from several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It will focus on three key questions: Can science retain independence and objectivity in the face of demands to meet commercial and public policy objectives? In what ways is scientific discourse privileged in the formation of public policy? How can scientific knowledge and methodology be made compatible with the interdisciplinary and integration required in public policy discourse and formation?

Commercialization: What’s Working, What’s Not

Ottawa, 9 November, 2004

Research Money once again shines the spotlight on the federal government’s innovation agenda. Join key players from business, government and academia to examine what’s working and what’s not with research commercialization.

From Discovery to Marketplace: Fuelling the New Canadian Economy 

Quebec City, 10-13 November, 2004

As Prime Minister Martin observed recently, “Ideas and discoveries will be the currency of the 21st century, and increasingly that currency must be Canadian.” This conference unites Canadian members of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) to accept the Prime Minister’s challenge. Participants will report on the progress that has been made in constructing a commercialization infrastructure for Canada as well as the many emerging and existing opportunities for bringing academic discoveries to the marketplace.

InnoWest 2004

Calgary, 17-18 November, 2004

This first annual western Canadian Innovation Conference, hosted by the Centre for Innovation Studies (THECIS), will address a wide range of issues in innovation including cluster, education, public-private partnerships and financing innovation. This conference provides a forum for the innovation community in western Canada to network, review the latest developments and work to find solutions to common problems. Day 1 has eight sessions, and Day 2 has four Workshops, on BioProducts, Energy, ICT, and Manufacturing.

5th Triple Helix Conference – The Capitalization of Knowledge: Cognitive, Economic, Social and Cultural Aspects

Turin-Milan, 18-21 May, 2005

The 5th Triple Helix Conference will bring together researchers interested in the interaction between University, Government and Industry. The conference program will include 10 Track Sessions per day, made up of paper sessions dedicated to individual scientific contributions, workshops on selected specific themes and panels intended for industrial experts and policy makers. The organizers invite contributions on issues related to the conference theme: economics of innovation, organizational sociology, regional policy, business & management, cognitive economics, finance, law & economics, industrial economics, scientific and technology policy, and political science.

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This newsletter is prepared by Jen Nelles.
Project manager is David A. Wolfe.