Darius Ornston

Associate Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Affiliated Faculty, Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
Room 359S

Trinity College
1 Devonshire Place 
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3K7 Canada

Headshot of Darius Ornston


Main Bio

Darius Ornston is Associate Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto where he specializes in innovation policy, specifically the relationship between cooperation and economic change. His first book, When Small States Make Big Leaps, illustrates how those communities use cooperation to enter new, high-technology markets. In Good Governance Gone Bad, he demonstrates how the same, tight-knit networks which accelerate reform and restructuring can lead to policy overshooting, overinvestment, and economic crisis.

Since moving to Canada, Professor Ornston’s research has focused on how Canadian cities leverage cooperation, including the role of storytelling and their resilience to anchor firm collapse. With Dan Breznitz, Professor Ornston is also examining the design of innovation agencies, the political barriers to policy experimentation, and the revolutionary power of peripheral organizations. Their work on innovation policy has also been published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the OECD.

As part of the Munk School’s Master of Global Affairs program, Professor Ornston teaches one section of “Global Innovation Policy” as well as two second-year seminars. In “The Political Economy of the Welfare State” students develop strategies for reforming big, slow-moving, highly politicized institutions. “Innovation and the City” examines the tools fiscally constrained local policymakers can use to shape innovation and regional economic development. In addition, he is also the lead instructor for the interdisciplinary undergraduate course, “Understanding Global Controversies.”

Select publications


The Political Economy of the Welfare State
Global Innovation Policy