The IPL newsletter: Volume 7, Issue 132

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.


Government of Canada Strengthens the New Media Industry

This month Western Economic Diversification Canada invested $507,500 in three projects to strengthen the new media industry in British Columbia and position B.C. on the world stage as an international new media hub. New Media B.C. will design and develop a “Digital Coast”, to increase collaboration and research within the industry. The University of British Columbia’s New Media Interdisciplinary Research Centre will develop a two-year pilot program to accelerate technology commercialization. The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design will establish a new media Industry Liaison Office for research, development and commercialization. Finally, Western Economic Diversification Canada is supporting the 2006 Vancouver International Digital Festival, a global event for new media representatives to meet and develop new strategies to further the industry.

The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) and the Ottawa Life Sciences Council (OLSC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stating their intention to merge

The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) and the Ottawa Life Sciences Council (OLSC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), today acknowledging their intention to merge. Both the life science and high technology industries have flourished in recent years due to the efforts of Ottawa’s dedicated economic development agencies. This merger will bring together the two industries, expanding their outreach and improving effectiveness by consolidating a comprehensive range of information, resources and services for all sectors, within one organization.

Ontario Announces a New Council of Experts on Innovation

The McGuinty government has taken another step towards strengthening Ontario’s innovative economy by announcing the appointees to the Ontario Research and Innovation Council. The council will advise the government on the best way for building a more creative, innovative and prosperous Ontario. The council will look at how and where innovation happens in the province. It will advise the government on a strategy that keeps Ontario’s economy strong by capitalizing on our ability to transform creative, cutting-edge ideas into long-lasting economic advantages.



Editor's Pick

Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Ireland

Ireland, a country the geographic size of West Virginia and with only four million citizens, about the same as Kentucky, is launching a comprehensive strategy to significantly strengthen the nation’s position in the knowledge economy by 2013. And it is investing 2.7 billion Euros by 2008 – or $3.4 billion U.S. – toward implementing more than 75 specific action items. This report presents the reasons for making such a sizable commitment as well as the areas to receive the targeted investment. For instance, in the area of delivering world class research, Ireland will expand its recent expenditures for its university research infrastructure with the goal of doubling the number of Ph.D. graduates by 2013. Public research activities, those carried out or supported by the national government, will be expanded in research thrusts of: agriculture and food; health; environment; marine sciences; and energy. In its comprehensive scope, the plan outlines action items for the rest of the innovation spectrum as well — from science education to industrial R&D and commercialization assistance to intellectual property protection to international S&T collaboration to R&D tax credits.

Innovation Policy

Annual Innovation Report 2006: Lessons in Public-Private Research Collaboration: Improving Interactions Between Individuals

Conference Board of Canada

This report focuses on interactions between individuals and identifies the practices and benefits that underlie successful collaborative projects as well as the barriers to such work. The report concludes that broad benefits of collaboration accrue to all participants, differing perspectives are important, students are key, and there is a lack of clarity related to intellectual property, overhead costs and contracts. Accordingly, the report recommends helping publicly funded researchers manage students, engaging corporate executives as collaboration champions, improving the clarity of university rules and regulations, and providing tax incentives to businesses collaborating with university researchers.

Innovativity: A Comparison Across Seven European Countries

Pierre Mohnen, Jaques Mairesse and MJ Dagenais, MERIT

This paper proposes a framework to account for innovation similar to the usual accounting framework in production analysis and a measure of innovativity comparable to that of total factor productivity. This innovation accounting framework is illustrated using microaggregated firm data from the first Community Innovation Surveys (CIS1) for seven European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Italy for the year 1992.Measuring innovation as the share of total sales due to improved or new products, it compares the propensity to innovate, and the innovation intensity conditional and unconditional on being innovative, across the seven countries and low- and high-tech manufacturing sectors. Even with relatively few explanatory variables our innovation framework already accounts for sizeable differences in country innovation intensity. It also shows that differences in innovativity across countries can be nonetheless very large.




The Global Technology Revolution 2020, In-Depth Analyses: Bio/Nano/Materials/Information Trends, Drivers, Barriers, and Social Implications

RAND Corporation, Technical Reports

In 2020, areas of particular importance for technology trends will include biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials technology, and information technology. The authors of this report assessed a sample of 29 countries across the spectrum of scientific advancement (low to high) with respect to their ability to acquire and implement 16 key technology applications (e.g., cheap solar energy, rural wireless communications, genetically modified crops). The study’s major conclusions are that scientifically advanced countries such as the United States, Germany, and Japan will be able to implement all key technology applications evaluated; countries that are not scientifically advanced will have to develop significant capacity and motivation before barriers to technology implementation can be overcome; and public policy issues in certain areas will engender public debate and strongly influence technology implementation.

Consequences, Opportunities and Challenges of Modern Biotechnology for Europe: Mapping of modern biotechnology applications and industrial sectors, identification of data needs and development of indicators

In response to a request from the European Parliament, the European Commission, and in particular its Joint Research Centre initiated a study aiming at providing a comprehensive assessment of the economic, social and environmental consequences, opportunities, and
challenges from the application of modern biotechnology in Europe. This study shows the feasibility of carrying out a quantitative assessment of the use and impact of modern biotechnology. Implementing the recommendations identified should contribute to an improved evaluation of the consequences, opportunities and challenges of modern biotechnology for Europe.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Theoretical Perspectives on Industry Clusters

Gashawbeza Bekele and Randall Jackson, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University

The concept of industry clustering has generated much discussion in regional economic development theory and practice in recent years. Yet it is fair to say that an accepted definition or a unified theoretical framework has failed to emerge from the discussion. The concept often seems to enliven itself under divergent theoretical approaches, including, but not limited to, work on agglomeration economies, industrial districts, business networks, knowledge spillovers, and regional innovation systems. This paper provides a review of the major theoretical propositions that seek to explain the clustering of economic activity and its presumed link with regional economic development. While there is undoubtedly some overlap on some of the explanations offered by the various theoretical perspectives, the concept of clustering has been used so widely in varying contexts that it risks creating more confusion than clarity.


Constructing Regional Advantages: Principles, Perspectives and Policies

European Research Area, Regions of Knowledge

This report asks how the capacity for knowledge creation and exploitation in the context of regional innovation systems can be developed as a means of constructing regional advantage. A focus on constructing regional advantage requires an ‘unpacking’ of key elements of the
regional economic and governance mosaic. Much has been discovered recently about what makes, for example, territorial agglomerations important for innovation and growth. These include better understanding of distinctive modes in which regional knowledge creation, innovation and entrepreneurship occur. In the report, such unpacking is conducted according to the following dimensions: related variety, differentiated knowledge bases, distributed knowledge networks,and trans-sectorial platform policies. These ‘unpacking’ efforts improve the capacity of policy makers at different geographical levels to formulate dedicated and specific innovation support customised to different regions and sectors. These will be in increasing demand if regions in high-cost countries are to compete and survive in a globalizing knowledge economy. Especially important is the formation of necessary capabilities in regions to construct regional advantage.


Statistics & Indicators


Measuring Regional Innovation

Council on Competitiveness

This guidebook was conceived to help policy makers at the regional level recognize strengths and opportunities and act upon them in order to secure and advance US competitiveness. The goals of the project include improving awareness among federal, state and local stakeholders of the conditions necessary to promote innovation-based economic development; catalyzing consensus on policy priorities and practices to strengthen the regional platforms for innovation; supporting partnerships between business, governments, and academics that share ideas and best practices; providing tools and techniques that allow states to inventory, evaluate and benchmark their innovation capacity; and, accelerating the implementation of local economic development initiatives. This guidebook focuses on gathering data at the regional level. For most of the quantitative data the unit of analysis is the Metropolitan Statistical Ares (MSA), but for data that is not available at the MSA level suggestions are offered for alternative approaches.



The Business of Innovation

Saskatoon, 8-10 August, 2006

The World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations Biennial Congress – WAITRO 2006 – is an opportunity for the research and technology community worldwide to come together to learn from each other and from invited experts. WAITRO participants include potential collaborators from research and technology organizations in other parts of the world to develop projects of common interest. Representatives of International Finance Institutions and International Development Agencies will be present to assist in formulating projects that address the needs of the developing world.

The Future of Science Technology and Innovation Policy

Sussex, 11-13 September, 2006

This conference, besides celebrating the 40th Anniversary of SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), offers the opportunity to engage in a critical evaluation of the present and future research agenda of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) field. This conference seeks to explore empirical, theoretical and applied policy approaches that can enable us to conceptualize the contradictory nature of modern science and technology and innovation, and thus provide practical policy guidance. Such a conference is particularly timely because many of the existing conceptual frameworks are apparently undergoing a period of what Kuhn called ‘normal science’ where their assumptions are rarely questioned, and where they are institutionally and academically isolated from criticism. We aim to identify fruitful new ways forward in the field of STI policy by subjecting these established frameworks to structured debate and critical evaluation. The conference will be organized in the form of plenary sessions, parallel sessions and set debates. It will cover a series of broad themes. These include: Ownership, Accountability and Relevance of Science – for example, the deficiencies of peer review, the pros and cons of patenting in universities, the shifting boundary between public and private knowledge, and processes for allocating resources between disciplines. Technology, Security and Sustainability – for example, the dual relationship between technology and security, changing environment and energy policy, the balance between sustainability and growth, and the role of technology in sustainable development. Dynamics of Innovation Interfaces – for example, the management and dynamics of innovation across different levels (such as individuals, groups, firms, sectors, networks and systems), user-centred innovation processes vs. producer-centered innovation processes, and the connection between innovation and entrepreneurship.


Blue Sky II: What Indicators for Science, Technology and Innovation Policies in the 21st Century?

Ottawa, 25-27 September, 2006

This forum will examine new areas for indicator development and set a broad agenda for future work on science, technology and innovation (STI) indicators. Emphasis will be placed on indicators of outcomes and impacts in order to support monitoring, benchmarking, foresight activity, and evaluation, applied to policies and programs, and their economic and social impacts. The Forum is expected to provide ideas and guidance for indicators work in both OECD and non OECD countries, as well as in their international organizations. The Forum will include plenary sessions featuring invited guest speakers who are leading authorities in their fields. Break-out sessions will discuss papers on specific themes selected through a call for papers.

New Generation Innovation: New Approaches and Policy Designs

Atlanta, 27-29 September, 2006

Particular areas of interest include: new developments in university-industry relationships, new strategies for technology-based local and regional economic development, technology transfer to and from the public sector, trajectories for emerging technologies. All session proposals, paper proposals and abstracts should be submitted electronically not later than Friday, May 12, 2006.


The 9th Annual Conference of the Competitiveness Institute (TCI): The Role of Cluster Governance and Companies’ Involvement in Clusters Initiatives
Lyon, France, 9-13 October, 2006

The goal of this conference is to share ideas, build alliances and explore the best modes of economic development. Additionally information is offered about specific clusters, introductory courses on cluster theory and presentations given by an array of world experts (academics, businesses and institutions).The main topics include competitiveness, innovation, cluster initiatives, industrial organization and corporate change. The theme of the 9th conference will be “Governance and business involvement in cluster initiatives”.


Transforming Communities Through Culture: Creative City Network Conference 2006 

Toronto, 18-21 October, 2006

This conference unites academics, planners and policy makers alike in a celebration and exploration of creative cities. The program contains a variety of presentations, including papers and dramatic performances. The themes covered this year include cultural diversity and inclusion, mobilizing citizens/engaging diverse communities, and shared/public spaces.

Universities and the Powering of Knowledge: Policy, Regulation and Innovation 

Ottawa, 19-20 October, 2006

Intended for participants involved in or interested in higher education, S&T and innovation policies, the conference will examine ways in which Canadian Universities have been changed, willingly or unwillingly, by federal and other policies and regulation and by efforts to make universities into an innovation engine of the knowledge-based economy. The conference will also explore likely future issues and forces which will influence Canadian universities in the next few years, set in the context of other competitor countries, economies and societies.


Paris, 25-27 October, 2006

As European economies seek new solutions for continuous and competitive growth, how will technology play? What does Europe’s future in Pharma, Agriculture, Food, and the Environment look like? Europe’s great bastions of life science are opening up: be there as it happens! Thousands of European and international participants will converge at EuroBiO. It’s where research and industry meet.

Entrepreneurship, Knowledge, Learning and the Evolution of Industrial/Territorial Clusters and Regions 

Athens, 30 November – 1 December, 2006

This Conference deals with issues within the Research Action Line 2 of the DIME Network of Excellence and in particular looks at the relationship between entrepreneurship, knowledge and learning through the analysis of the evolution of systems, industrial and territorial clusters and regions. Proposals for contributions-theoretical or empirical (based on surveys, data bases and case studies) are asked on the following four broad areas of research: entrepreneurship and cluster development; entrepreneurship and human capital: the role of entrepreneurial studies in engineering education; managing and coordinating the entrepreneurial development process; and entrepreneurship policy as an emerging policy area, distinct from traditional SME/Enterprise and other related public policies.


Triple Helix VI – Emerging Models for the Entrepreneurial University: Regional Diversities or Global Convergence?

Singapore, 16-18 May, 2007

Organized for the first time in Asia, Triple Helix VI 2007 will provide a global forum for academic scholars from different disciplinary perspectives as well as policy makers, university administrators and private sector leaders from different countries to exchange and share new learning about the diverse emerging models of the entrepreneurial university, the changing dynamics of University- Industry-Government interactions around the world and the complex roles of the university in local, regional and national economic development.

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