The IPL newsletter: Volume 5, Issue 87

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.


McGuinty Government Invests in Innovation

The McGuinty government is investing in Ontario’s prosperity through a new Commercialization Strategy to turn innovative research into successful products. The first step in the Commercialization Strategy will invest $63 million to link public research institutions with companies that can move the research out of the lab and into the market. Universities, colleges and hospitals will receive $27 million to help them identify promising research and make them investor-ready; and institutions will receive $36 million to help them establish pools of seed capital to commercialize the best ideas. This will enable Ontario’s world-class research capabilities to create spin-off companies and accelerate the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises and leading-edge jobs.

Cutting-Edge Research Centre to Bear Philanthropist’s Name

Terrence Donnelly, a renowned Toronto philanthropist has given the University of Toronto’s cutting-edge post-genomic research centre – the first in Canada – a donation of $13 million. The Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (CCBR) will bear Terrence Donnelly’s name in recognition of an $8 million donation to complement his earlier $5 million gift. The Terrence Donnelly CCBR will allow scientists from a wide range of disciplines to work collaboratively, exploring the links between genes and disease in a facility Dr. David Naylor, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, calls “a potential Nobel factory.”

Commercialization Offices Join Forces

The commercialization offices of academic research centres across Ontario have joined forces in the interest of promoting the commercialization of innovative research. The new organization–the Ontario Society for Excellence in Technology Transfer (onSETT)–says it will be the voice for technology transfer from these institutions in Ontario. The organization says its mission is to foster a robust technology transfer environment by strengthening commercialization networks, promoting high quality commercialization practices, collecting and disseminating statistics and measures of commercialization activity, and educating members and stakeholders.


Editor's Pick

Firms and Places in the Knowledge Economy: The Scale Question in Economic Geography

Phil Cooke and Mark Lorenzen, DRUID

The paper discusses the importance of scale economies in the knowledge economy. It argues that even if there may be positive scale economies of knowledge creation in many high-tech sectors — for example, biotech — the role of external economies should not be neglected. Knowledge is created in interplay among firms, other economic agents, and public institutions like universities. The paper argues that the traditional theoretical field which has traditionally treated place-bound economic development — that of economic geography — has failed to grasp important questions related to the importance of scale in the knowledge economy. The authors suggest a clear distinction between places at different scales: “clusters” (open systems of relations among firms) and “regional innovation systems” (larger, albeit more closed institutional systems supporting a host of innovation activities) and call for economic geography to be able to better conceptualize the relationship between internal and external scale economies.



Innovation Policy


Action File: Commercialization

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Through research, intellectual property protection and management, securing venture capital, marketing and prototype development, Canada’s universities play a key role in commercializing university research. As the source of one-third of all research and development activity in Canada and a third of all R&D jobs, Canadian universities and their knowledge transfer activities are vital to Canada’s prosperity. This document illustrates the wide range of actions that universities are taking and will need to pursue in order to build on their collective success in commercializing univesity research.

The Lisbon Review 2004: An Assessment of Policies and Reforms in Europe

World Economic Forum

In March 2000, Europe’s heads of state and government met in Lisbon, Portugal, and declared their intention to make the European Union (EU) “the most competitive and dynamic knowledgebased
economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and
greater social cohesion.” The present Lisbon Review aims to assess progress made in the implementation of the far-reaching goals for the EU-15 contained in the Strategy, using as a reference point the very criteria for competitiveness. The report also pays particular attention to the competitive performance of those countries that join the EU this year, as well as those scheduled to join in 2007.

Designed for Innovation: The Structure of IPR Regimes and the Evolution of Information Technologies

Elad Harison, MERIT

The large legal and economic literature on intellectual property rights (IPRs) presents contradictory arguments on the efficiency of the legal regime to promote innovation and technical change in information technologies. Given these streams of literature this paper aims at identifying the desirable structure of the regime in which maximal technological progress is achieved. The paper identifies the relationships between different degrees of patent protection and market dynamics (in terms of technical quality, diffusion, firm behaviour and market organization).The results of the model suggest that in the current patent regime the legal provisions are to a large extent over-protective and may result in a slowdown in the advance of software technologies. The policy implications of the model go beyond assessing the effects of extending the patent regime to include information technologies in its scope. The analysis provides a wide-ranging instrument that assists policy makers in evaluating the impact of changes in the legal framework on the evolution of technologies


Cities, Clusters & Regions


Codification of Knowledge Inside a Cluster: The Case of the Telecom Valley in Sophia Antipolis

Nathalie Lazaric, DRUID

The development of high technology clusters is not a deterministic process, but one that is affected by the different dynamics of any attempts (intentional or otherwise) to coordinate activity and build a shared knowledge. This paper provides an illustration of these dynamics through the history of Sophia Antipolis, which has evolved from satellite platform to technopolis and from geographical proximity to organized proximity. Telecom Valley, a professional association of the actors of the telecommunication sector, and the Knowledge Management Platform, a project the association has initiated, have played a crucial role in this process. They succeeded in reducing ‘cognitive distance’, reinforcing proximity and giving a sense to the codification process inside the cluster.


Statistics & Indicators

Presentations from the International Colloquium on Measuring the Impact of Science

Canadian Science and Innovation Indicators Consortium (CSIIC)

This conference – supported by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), Georgia Institute of Technology, Canadian Science and Innovation Indicators Consortium (CSIIC), Institut de la Statistique du Québec (ISQ), Ministère du Développement économique et régional (MDER) and the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) – united scholars from all over the world to discuss and lay the methodological groundwork for measuring the impacts of science on society and the economy. PowerPoint presentations are available under the following headings: Models, Concepts and Methodological Issues; Recent Experiments and Innovative Methodologies; and Empirical Studies and Results


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.

Biomedical Technology Developments 

Markham, ON, 6 July 2004

This conference hosted by the National Research Council – Industrial Materials Institute (IMI) deals with new and emerging technologies in products and process in the biomedial field. The conference includes sessions on biomaterials and tissue deformations in medical interventions, emergin soft micro and nanofabrication and microinjection molding for medical applications.

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.