The IPL newsletter: Volume 5, Issue 94

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.


NSF, NIH Commit Combined US$213 Million Toward Nanotech

The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have allocated new funding for research in nanotechnology. In recent funding rounds, both organizations have announced much larger funding commitments – totaling US$213 million – to expedite commercial applications for the field. Current projects include an Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer and awards for other science and engineering research at major universities and labs across the country.

McAfee Inc. Another Investment from Silicon Valley for the Waterloo Region

Santa Clara, California-based McAfee, Inc. (NYSE: MFE) recently unveiled an expanded Canadian Consumer Product Software Research and Development facility in Waterloo. This follows the announcement by another firm from California, Nuvation, an engineering design services firm, that it would be setting up its new design and concept centre at the Waterloo Design Centre. Both firms cite local talent as the key draw of the community. McAfee Inc spokesmen affirmed this stating that “The expansion of our Waterloo initiative (from 5,000 to 13,000 sq.ft.) supports and reaffirms the company’s mandate to source and hire the best local talent available.”


Editor's Pick



Designing the Economy: A Profile of Ontario’s Design Workforce

Meric Gertler and Tara Vinodrai, PROGRIS

In May 2003 the Design Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) embarked on a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary research study of the Ontario design sector. The group wanted to create a profile of the design workforce and to explore the impact of the work of designers on other sectors in the economy. One of the primary findings of this research project is that Ontario has a critical mass of designers; but numbers alone do not equal value. Future strategy in this field should work to transform this expertly trained, highly creative workforce into a strategic design hub that will drive innovation and enhance commercialization outcomes for the province.




Innovation Policy

Reinventing Innovation and Commercialization Policy in Ontario

Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity

Ontario firms in traded industries trail their US counterparts by 55 percent in patent creation per employee, a key measure of innovative capacity in Ontario. To improve innovation performance, government policy needs to focus as much on the demand for innovation as on funding of R&D and the hard sciences. Having reviewed the factors at play in innovation the Institute is proposing that Ontario assess two complementary factors – the support for innovation and the pressure for innovation. Funding for R&D and availability of scientists and engineers are examples of support for innovation. Pressure refers to the forces that compel firms to innovate – sophisticated and demanding customers and capable competitors. The paper concludes that government policy in Canada has focused too much in the area of support for innovation, and within that has concentrated excessively on hard sciences and technology. To create an effective environment for innovation it is equally important that there be support from effective managers who are driving company operations and strategies. Public policy also needs to drive towards creating greater pressure on businesses..


Cities, Clusters & Regions


Local Strategic Networks and Policies in European ICT Clusters – Amstradam, Bari, Dublin and Oulu

Willem van Winden and Paulus Woets, European Institute for Comparative Urban Research

Regional interfirm networks are believed to be a vehicle for innovation and regional economic growth. From this perspective, local and regional governments are increasingly trying to promote these types of networks. This article discusses the relation between strategic networks and local development. It focuses on the role of local institutions that support strategic networking in ICT clusters in a number of European cities. It also discusses and analyses the way local and national governments try to influence local strategic networks in this sector.

Network Knowledge Versus Cluster Knowledge: The Gordian Knot of Knowledge Transfer Concepts

Maria Forsman and Nikodemus Solitander, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

This paper outlines knowledge transfer concepts in the two strands of literature of management and economic geography (EG). It takes an analytical approach to review the existing contributions and seeks to identify the benefits of further interaction between the disciplines. Furthermore, it offers an interpretation of the concepts of cluster and network and suggests a clearer distinction between their respective definitions. This paper posits that studies of internal networks transcending national borders and clusters are not necessarily mutually exclusive when it comes to knowledge transfer and the learning process of the firm. It acknowledges the importance of studying both the effect of and the need for geographical proximity and external networks for the knowledge transfer process.




Biotechnology Council of Ontario (BCO) Public Policy Forum

Toronto, 18 October, 2004

This forum will bring together organizations and individuals from across the biotechnology sector to define strategic policies for this critical economic area of the province. It will consist of a full-day open discussion on the needs, challenges, and advantages of the biotechnology sector in Ontario. It will give the Ontario biotechnology industry a rational, transparent, and inclusive policy development process and provide the BCO with its annual “terms of reference” to bring to government. Throughout the day, there will be a series of breakout sessions, as well as featured speakers with specific expertise in public policy formation, development, and implementation.

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.

Microelectronics – The Heart of the System 

Ottawa, 15 November, 2004

This conference will provide insights so that the microsystems sector can continue to make a profound contribution to Canada and the world. This year’s Program features experts from government and industry, such as Charlie Rothschild (Senior Director of R&D for the ATG, Agilent
Laboratories), Michael Fister (President and CEO, Cadence Design Systems), Denzil Doyle (Chairman of Capital Alliance Inc.), Dr. Arthur Kuo (President of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing), Frank Maw (President of Motorola Canada Limited), Duncan Stewart (Tera Capital Corp.) and Bernard Courtois of ITAC, to name just a few.

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.