The IPL newsletter: Volume 7, Issue 136

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.



China Gaining Ground in the Global Head and Brains Race

Global competition, once defined by the Cold War arms race, has evolved into a “head and brains race” where nations measure success through the development and application of technology. That was one of the conclusions from a Battelle-R&D Magazine report on international research and development trends. The report frames international competition as evolving from the arms race to a “hands race” based on lower-cost manual labor and now to the head and brains race driving the current escalation of R&D spending. ?With China leading the way, Asia continues to seize more and more of the international R&D market. Asia’s share of global R&D grew from 34.9 percent in 2005 to 35.6 percent this year and should continue to grow to a projected 36.5 percent in 2007, according to the report. The U.S., over the same period, has declined from 32.7 percent to 32.4 percent this year and is projected to dip to 31.9 percent next year.

NRC Opens Cutting Edge Fuel Cell Research Facility

The NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI’s) new 70,000+ square feet research facility provides a specialized and safe research
environment for NRC scientists, collaborative industry and university partners. The new building provides an excellent platform for NRC’s
hydrogen and fuel cell technology demonstration activities as well as a home for the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program and BC’s Hydrogen Highway™.

Dr. Chad Gaffield Appointed to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of
Canada (SSHRC), appointed Dr. Chad Gaffield as President of SSHRC. Dr. Gaffield, who holds a University Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, successfully launched the Institute of Canadian Studies at the University of Ottawa and served as the founding Director from 1997 to 2003.



Editor's Pick

Papers Presented by ISRN Members at Blue Sky II

Better by Design: Capturing the Role of Design in Innovation

Meric Gertler and Tara Vinodrai

This paper review the evidence – both qualitative and quantitative – that documents the growing importance of design as a key input in the innovation process and as a source of value added in a wide range of sectors. It provides an overview of the set of conceptual arguments that provide an understanding of the more fundamental transformation underlying these recent empirical trends. Included are a set of recent literatures on the ‘cultural economy’ and creativity, as well as related literature on the ‘business of design’.


University Research in an “Innovation Society”

Richard Hawkins, Cooper Langford and Kiranpal Sidhu

This paper outlines lon standing debates about how to evaluate the return on investment of funding university research. However, the authors identify a futher, and even more challenging problem: the conventional statistical definition of university-industry knowledge transfer is tied to a very narrow conceptualization of innovation as a phenomenon; one that is oriented almost entirely to the production and application of new technology. This orientation most likely misrepresents, and very probably underestimates, the role and the value of university research in the innovation process.


What Indicators for Cluster Policies in the 21st Century?

Charles Davis, David Arthurs, Erin Cassidy, and David Wolfe

This paper explores the question of the policy relevant indicators of innovation clusters, a particular case of the more general problem of how to produce meaningful and useful indicators for science, technology and innovation (STI) policies. It begins with a review of some of the challenges in defining innovation cluster indicators. It proposes a parsimonious, generic cluster framework comprised of six constructs and thirty-four variables. Finally, it discusses considerations for the application of policy relevant indicators.

Innovation Policy

The Organization of Work and Innovative Performance: A Comparison of the EU-15

Anthony Arundel, Edward Lorenz, Bengt-Ake Lundvall, and Antoine Valeyre, DRUID

It is widely recognized that while expenditures on research and development are important inputs to successful innovation, these are not the only inputs. Further, rather than viewing innovation as a linear process, recent work on innovation in business and economics literatures characterizes it as a complex and interactive process involving multiple feedbacks. These considerations imply that relevant indicators for innovation need to do more than capture material inputs such as R&D expenditures and human capital inputs. The main contribution of this paper is to develop EU-wide aggregate measures that are used to explore at the level of national innovation systems the relationship between innovation and the organization of work. In order to construct these aggregate measures the authors make use of micro data from two European surveys: the third European survey of Working Conditions and the third Community Innovation Survey (CIS-3). Although the data can only show correlations rather than causality they support the view that how firms innovate is linked to the way work is organized to promote learning and problem-solving.

The State of Science and Technology in Canada

The Committee for the State of Science and Technology in Canada

This report by The Council of Canadian Academies responds to a request in June 2006 from the Government of Canada, via the Minister of Industry, for advice as to Canada’s strengths and capacity in science and technology (S&T), specifically to help better understand: 1) The scientific disciplines in which Canada excels in a global context, 2) The technology applications where Canada excels in a global context, 3) The S&T infrastructure that currently provides Canada with unique advantages, 4) The scientific disciplines and technological applications that have the potential to emerge as areas of prominent strength for Canada and generate significant economic or social benefits.

Where Has the Money Gone?: Declining Industrial Support for Academic R&D

National Science Foundation (NSF)

A three-decades-long trend of increasingly strong ties between industry and universities may have ended. Between 1972 and 2001, industrial support to universities and colleges grew more rapidly than any other source of support for academic research and development . A 1996 National Academy of Sciences report stated that “The prevalence and vitality of research partnerships between industrial organizations and universities have increased dramatically over the last two decades” (NAS 1996:1). A decade later, at an April 2006 meeting held at the National Academies, prominent industry and university speakers indicated that negotiations of sponsored research agreements, particularly disagreements over the treatment of intellectual property (IP), were negatively affecting the entire industry-university research partnership in the United States. It was pointed out that U.S. companies increasingly choose to work with foreign rather than U.S. universities, encouraged by the more favorable IP rights that foreign universities offer and the strong incentives for joint industry-university research that foreign governments provide. Against this background, it is perhaps not surprising that, beginning in 2002, the absolute value of industrial R&D dollars to academic institutions—funds provided directly to academic institutions for the conduct of research—began to decline. This trend has continued through 2004, the latest year for which data are available


Cities, Clusters & Regions

Sustainability and Cities as Systems of Innovation

Bjorn Johnson and Martin Lehmann, DRUID

Cities often constitute relevant environments for interactive learning and innovation potentially capable of tackling sustainability problems. This paper asks if the concept of systems of innovation can increase our understanding of city dynamics and help promoting the sustainable development of cities. Through a combination of the innovation system approach and the perspective of creative cities, the paper argues that a slightly modified concept – sustainable city systems of innovation – may be helpful in this context. To underline this, it discusses certain ‘city-traits’ of sustainability and conclude that the new concept may be of special use for urban quality development and management.

New Tools for New Times: A Sourcebook for the Financing, Funding and Delivery of Urban Infrastructure

Casey Vander Ploeg, Canada West Foundation

This report argues that Canada’s cities should have access to, and make use of, a much broader range of finance tools to meet their large and growing infrastructure needs. The report contends that the municipal, provincial and federal governments must work together to implement innovative approaches that will give cities the financial muscle they need to maintain and increase their supply of infrastructure. Vander Ploeg also argues that cities must do a better job of managing the demand for infrastructure.


Corporate Citizenship and Urban Problem-Solving: The Changing Civic Role of Business Leaders in American Cities

The Brookings Institution

Business-led civic organizations have historically played an important role in urban policymaking, planning, and renewal. However, shifting economic forces—including corporate consolidation, industrial decline, and the suburbanization of many businesses—have diminished the capacity of these organizations, potentially stripping cities of a significant advocate. This paper, along with two detailed case studies, traces the shifting landscape of business-civic organizations in 19 U.S. metropolitan areas.


Social Sustainability in Vancouver

Merrill Cooper, CPRN

A year ago The Economist named Vancouver “The World’s Most Liveable City.” It has features other cities can only envy: a breathtaking mix of ocean and mountain, a vibrant multi-ethnic population, and a culture of innovation and eco-sensitive practices and policies. And yet, too many residents are being excluded from enjoying, taking part in and contributing to everything Vancouver has to offer. CPRN was commissioned to study the population and begin the process of dealing with the challenges it faces.


Statistics & Indicators


Mind to Market: A Global Analysis of University Biotechnology Transfer and Commercialization

The Milken Institute

In this study, Milken Institute researchers examine the biotechnology transfer process taking place at universities, from knowledge creation to technology transfer and early-stage commercialization. A key focus of the investigation is the role played by technology transfer professionals. Research is essential for commercial outcome, but the technology transfer professional is crucial in the successful conversion of knowledge to the private sector. The report includes rankings of the top universities based on the quality of their biotech research (Publication Ranking), the number and quality of their patents (Patent Ranking) and their ability to transfer this IP into commercial uses (Technology Transfer and Commercialization Index).



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”.


International Second Cities Conference

Corner Brook, 12-13 October, 2006

This conference will have provincial, national and international speakers, addressing the strategies and opportunities for small and medium-sized cities. It will focus on the issues of economic development, sustainable/”green” planning and practices, infrastructure and public private partnerships, rural-urban interactions, post-secondary institutions, and immigration and population planning.

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.

Research Incentives: Maximizing Performance in the Knowledge Economy

Ottawa, 15 November, 2006

As Canada continues to cope with the globalization of the knowledge economy, Canadian firms are facing stiff competition from an increasing number of players. They also have more opportunities for global sales, marketing and distribution; and global collaboration, partnerships and outsourcing. For Canada to remain competitive, we need a policy environment that is attractive to entrepreneurs and firms in knowledge-based sectors. What kinds of research and innovation incentives will effectively support the growth of knowledge-based firms in Canada? There are clear choices, including tax measures, the programmatic approach, grants (like the US model), technology transfer from publicly-funded institutions, improving the general business environment. What mix of incentives will the new government in Ottawa choose? How will these choices affect existing programs and policies? What role do different levels of governments have to play and how can they coordinate and focus their efforts? How are other countries using research and other incentives to grow their knowledge-based sectors? This one-day event will explore these and other issues related to research and innovation incentives. Business leaders and other experts will elaborate how Canadian policy makers can utilize incentives to support a vital and growing private sector capable of winning globally.


DRUID-DIME Academy 2007 PhD Winter Conference on Geography, Innovation and Industrial Dynamics 

Aalborg, Denmark, 25-27 January, 2007

The conference is open for all PhD students working within the broad field of “industrial dynamics”. The conference is organized by the DRUID Academy for doctoral education and training in collaboration with the EU 6th Framework Network of Excellence DIME Consortium. The event will take place in Denmark on January 25-27, 2007. All doctoral students who wish to present a paper at the DRUID-DIME Academy Winter 2007 Conference must submit an extended abstract (minimum 1000 words; maximum 2000 words) before the deadline of November 6, 2006 through the conference website.

Hydrogen Fuel & Fuel Cells 2007: International Conference and Trade Show

Vancouver, 29 April – 2 May, 2007

Today’s energy challenges have no boundaries. Energy security, climate change, and clean air concerns challenge communities around the world. International research, business and policy collaborations are ensuring that technologies, such as hydrogen and fuel cells, will provide a sustainable future for generations. This conference and trade show will highlight these global activities and developments. Canada, and particularly Vancouver, boasts unrivalled hydrogen and fuel cell expertise. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore BC’s Hydrogen Highway, experience the latest in hydrogen and fuel cell innovations and visit the most advanced hydrogen and fuel cell research facility… the National Research Council’s cutting-edge Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation.

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.