The IPL newsletter: Volume 5, Issue 91

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.



CATA Takes Steps to Link Canada and China High Tech Markets

Canada’s largest high tech association, CATAAlliance, announced the signing of an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the China Chamber of International Commence (Fujan Provincial Electronics and Information Industry) in order to promote “the development of business relations between Canada and China in the field of Hi-Tech industry and related services.” CATA has also signed a second MOU with the Schenzhen (SHIA) to further industry collaboration.

Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc Completes Negotiations with Universities and Government

Two of the tasks of the merger that created Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc. (OCE) were to negotiate a new contract with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) and a new partnership arrangement with Ontario’s universities. The new five-year contract with MEDT provides $32.3 million per year to operate the Ontario Centres of Excellence Program. OCE Inc. has also negotiated a new University Collaborative Agreement (UCA) with Ontario’s universities. This five-year umbrella agreement provides the necessary framework for specific research agreements between researchers, universities and companies

EU Nanotech Network Launched

A new European network for life sciences-related nanotechnology, funded by a €5 million grant from the European Commission (EC) was launched last week. The network is made up of a consortium of 12 nanotechnology institutes and plans to integrate 192 researchers and staff in the next 4 years. The consortium is meant to strengthen Europe’s nanotechnology stance to better compete with its main nanotechnology competitors, the United States and Japan. The EC reported in May that the European Union (EU) was investing proportionately less than its main competitors and recommended tripling overall public EU nanotechnology research and development investment by 2010. One of the crucial differences the EC noted in its May report between the EU and its main competitors was that the latter had coordinated nanotechnology research and development programs, whereas European research was scattered.


Editor's Pick

Regional Innovation Systems: A Critical Synthesis

David Doloreux and Saeed Parto, United Nations University, Institute for New Technologies (INTECH)

In recent years, the concept of regional innovation systems has evolved into a widely used analytical framework generating the empirical foundation for innovation policy making. Yet, approaches using this framework remain ambiguous on such key issues as the territorial dimension of innovation (i.e. the region) and the apparently important role played by institutions and institutional context in the emergence and sustenance of regional innovation systems. This paper reviews and summarizes the most important ideas and arguments on regional innovation systems to provide the basis for a critical examination of such issues as (1) definitional confusion and empirical validation; (2) the territorial dimension of regional innovation systems; and (3) the role of institutions




Innovation Policy

Five Puzzles in the Behaviour of Productivity, Investment and Innovation

Robert J Gordon, NBER

This paper examines five of the most pervasive questions about the nature of the relationships between productivity, investment and innovation in the knowledge-based economy. For example, Gordon attempts to explain why productivity growth accelerated after 2000 as the ICT investment boom was collapsing. He also asks why computers produced so little productivity before 1995 and so much after, and what the collapse of the investment boom implies about the future of innovation. In addressing these and other key question Gordon tries to characterize the nature of the (North) American economy, in terms of innovation and productivity, and draw conclusions as to where it is going


Global Knowledge Flows and Economic Development


Global knowledge flows are becoming a key driver of economic development. How can countries develop effective policies to reap benefits? This report by the OECD aims to answer this question and highlights these key areas: promoting cross-border alliances involving firms and universities; simulating knowledge transfers from foreign direct investment ventures; attracting highly-skilled workers from overseas and creating vibrant innovation systems. This book, published in collaboration with Scottish Enterprise, is for policy makers, practitioners and academics.


Cities, Clusters & Regions


Density and Strength of Ties in Innovation Networks: An Analysis of Multimedia and Biotechnology

Victor A Gilsing and Bart Nooteboom, Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies (ECIS)

An important issue in the network literature is whether innovation ties within networks of innovation should be sparse and weak, to allow for variety, flexibility and low cost of exploration or alternatively, that ties should be ‘cohesive’, to facilitate trust and collaboration. These questions connect with a debate in the sociological literature on networks concerning the ‘strength of weak ties’. Nooteboom and Gilsing (2004) developed additional hypotheses concerning density and strength of ties for networks for exploration and for exploitation. This paper provides an empirical illustration of these hypotheses, through a study of the development of networks in two Dutch knowledge intensive industries.

Iowa’s Bioscience Pathway for Development

Iowa Department of Economic Development

This strategic roadmap or pathway outlines a comprehensive approach to bioscience-based economic development that requires a long-term commitment from the state, its institutions, and the commercial bioscience sector. Leading technology states have accomplished their growth usually over a decade or more, using a sustained commitment to strategies and actions that build critical mass in research and commercial biosciences—Iowa will need to do no less. The state has considerable strengths in the area of bioscience, particularly in terms of major research universities and in hosting a variety of bioscience firms. To that end, this roadmap identifies specific strategies and actions that will serve, if acted upon, to help realize a bioscience-driven economy through leveraging existing organizations and programs and developing new initiatives.




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.

Emerging Technology Venture Conference (ETVC) 2004

Montreal, 14-15 September, 2004

Canada’s first international conference to bring together companies in emerging technologies with international investors will showcase Quebec and Ontario’s best technologies, projects and companies in Infotechs, Nanotechs and Robotics to angel investors and venture capital firms from Quebec, Canada, U.S., Europe and Asia. The 250 participants expected to attend this event will include some of the most prominent North American VC firms and financial institutions, academics, corporate labs and institutional investors.

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.

Building the Future on Knowledge: Blueprints for Foresight Actions in the Regions Expert Group

Brussels, Belgium, 23 September, 2004

An expert group for foresight actions in the regions in support of the implementation of EU policy was implemented in 2003. The objective of this conference is to present the results of the expert group, as well as to inform national and regional policymakers and policy-shapers of the combined policies and instruments of the European Union supporting the development of regional knowledge based economies. High level political input by Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, the President of the Committee of the Regions Peter Straub, Commissioner Peter Balazs, as well as MEP Alain Lipietz will be combined with the hands-on experience of the five working groups of the Blueprints expert group. Pre-Registration.

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.

Building Innovative Clusters for 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.

Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT

Cambridge, MA, 29-30 September, 2004

Produced by Technology Review Magazine, the authority on emerging technology, The Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT showcases the technologies poised to make a dramatic impact on our world. It brings together world-renowned innovators and leaders in technology, business and entrepreneurial fields certain to better our lives, create opportunities and fuel economic growth.

The Internet and Law: A Global Conversation

Ottawa, 1-2 October

Bringing together leading academics from 16 countries, including Lawrence Lessig, David Post, Bernt Hugenholtz, Graham Greenleaf, and Ian Walden, the conference will explore comparative approaches to intellectual property law, e-commerce, Internet regulation, and developmental issues.

Research, Innovation and Economic Performance – What Do We Know and Where are We Heading?

Brussels, 8 October, 2004

This Conference is being organized by the European Commission, the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture of the University of Oslo, and Oxford University Press to mark the launch of the Oxford Handbook of Innovation. The Oxford Handbook of Innovation is an outcome of project TEARI: (Towards a European Area for Research and Innovation), which has been supported by the Commission to synthesize and valorize research projects carried out in the auspices of its socio-economic research initiatives.The conference aims to bring together eminent researchers from Europe and the US together with policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss emerging agendas of research in innovation and economic performance and relevant policy practice.

Building Tech-Based Economies: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Challenges

Philadelphia, 13-15 October, 2004

Regions that will thrive are preparing for tomorrow’s challenges by defining their future — a future built on innovation, entrepreneurship, talent, and growth of knowledge assets. They are looking at the tech-based economic development policies and programs around the world that have worked well in the recent past, are adjusting to the unique needs of their specific region, and are adapting quickly to changes in technology development and economic times. SSTI’s annual conferences provide the nation’s most widely respected forum for policymakers and practitioners to work and learn together, share successes and failures, and engage in productive dialogue on how to grow vibrant economies based on investments in science and technology.

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.

Conference on Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals 

Montreal, 30 January- 2 February, 2005

This conference will convene developer of biopharmaceuticals and the plant-factory community. The three themes emphasized this year are compounds (biologic drugs in development, pharma partnerships, markets), capacity (speed, cost, quality and reliability of production), and compliance (evolving regulations, biomass production in North America and Europe, progress in clinical trials).

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.