SSTI Digest

Geography: International

Québec Commits $1B+ for Innovation & Research Strategy

The provincial government of Québec committed to infusing $888 million (Canadian) into its science and technology community over the next three years, as a result of the innovation and research strategy released earlier this month. The new investment is in addition to $278 million committed this year alone for research infrastructure and the Québec Aeronautical Industry Development Strategy.


To help put the magnitude of the nearly $1.2 billion total Canadian three-year investment into perspective for most Digest readers (approximately $1.01 billion US), Québec’s 2006 population of nearly 7.7 million people would make it the 12th-largest state, between New Jersey and Virginia. 


An Innovative and Prosperous Québec outlines the province’s mechanisms to increase the development of knowledge and technology transfer, with specific and aggressive goals by 2010 of increasing:

Job Corner

ANGLE, an international venture management and consulting company with broad experience in technology development initiatives at the regional and national level, has position openings for a consultant and a senior executive. These starting-level positions would assist ANGLE's U.S. Consulting and Management operation on domestic and international projects. Both positions require someone with a Ph.D. or a master's degree in business, public policy, development studies, economics, or technology and interests in technology-based economic development, technology transfer, technology and innovation policy, and strategy. A full description of these opportunities and others is available through the SSTI Job Corner at

Bahrain Seeks to Become Research Leader with $1B Science and Technology Park

The Economic Development Board of Bahrain and Kuwait Finance House have begun planning a $1 billion (US) Science and Technology Park in Bahrain. The park will be modeled on the Sophia Antipolis Technology Park in France, which is the largest of its kind in Europe and the second-largest technology park in the world, according to the European Commission’s PAXIS innovation program. The Kuwait Finance House has appointed Philippe Mariani, former director of the French park to oversee the new project.


Bahrain Science and Technology Park has already announced several partnerships with Middle Eastern and European universities to attract research in clean technology, renewable energy, environmental technology, IT, and communications. The two million square meter campus will host small, medium and large companies in these and other emerging industries.


The project will be executed in three phases, though a final timeline has not yet been announced. The first phase will concentrate on the initial infrastructure for the park, while the later stages will introduce additional laboratories, university partnerships, and quality of life improvements. Project leaders believe that the park will attract international companies and build up the local knowledge base, and establish Bahrain as the science and technology hub of the region.

United Kingdom, California to Collaborate on Climate Change Policy

Recognizing an immediate need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have announced their intention to become partners and act aggressively to address climate change and promote energy diversity.

Gov. Schwarzenegger and Prime Minister Blair signed an agreement during an hour-long roundtable focusing on clean energy and climate issues. The event, held July 31, was attended by more than a dozen CEOs. At the signing, Gov. Schwarzenegger did not shy away from criticizing the lack of action on the federal level.

California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming, Gov. Schwarzenegger said. Today, we are taking an unprecedented step by signing an agreement between California and the United Kingdom. International partnerships are needed in the fight against global warming and California has a responsibility and a profound role to play to protect not only our environment, but to be a world leader on this issue as well.

Specifically, the agreement commits both California and the UK to:

Technology Parks are Vital to Brazilian Competitiveness, Says Report

A new report released in conjunction with the Fourth International Competitive Brazil Congress gives a positive assessment of the country's potential as a leader in life sciences and provides useful model for competitiveness assessments in other regions. The report, Mechanisms of Innovation and Competitiveness, was prepared by the Center for the Support of Technology Development at the University of Brasilia and coordinated by the five-year-old Competitive Brazil Movement (Movimento Brasil Competitivo, MBC).


Five science and technology parks were selected for analysis in order to collect data on the progress of Brazilian innovation over the course of two years. During the study, the MBC developed an assessment methodology that can be applied to evaluate the potential of an environment to foster innovation and improve regional competitiveness. This model, based on previous studies by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness in North Carolina and Mexico, relies on several categories of high-tech competitiveness indicators including:

Toronto Considers Strategies for Building Regional Creative Economies

In a report released last week, a Toronto group says that creative industries may soon overtake ICT and business services as the fastest growing sector in the region's economy. In order to preserve this momentum and ensure that other industries benefit from the presence of a strong creative sector, the authors recommend enlisting regional leaders to create programs that support creative people, creative enterprises, affordable spaces for creative work, and a shared community vision.

The report is the culmination of almost two years of work by Toronto's Creative Cities Leadership Team, with support from the University of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Culture, the City of Toronto, and the Ministry of Research and Innovation. Similar case studies by the Strategies for Creative Cities project are now being undertaken in New York, San Francisco, London, Barcelona and Berlin. A report on London was released earlier this year.

According to the project, creative industries are those producing cultural goods, including media and broadcasting, architecture, the performing arts, advertising, design, and publishing. Creative workers, however, can be found in any industry, but rely on creativity in their daily work. This includes writers, graphic designers, musicians, illustrators, artisans and photographers. From 1991 through 2004, the compound annual growth rate of creative occupations in Toronto (6 percent) far surpassed the overall growth of the labor force (2.3 percent). In fact, between 1990 and 2000, creative employment grew faster than in many well known creative cities, such as San Francisco, Montreal and Los Angeles.

The Toronto study focuses on the region's need to build on this growth to advance Toronto as a center of North American creativity and to connect creative firms with partners in other industries. These partnerships give creative firms greater access to the capital available to more traditional industries and provide those industries with access to the region's creative talent.

Highlights from the recommendations include:

Ireland Committing $3.4B to Science, Technology & Innovation

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.

Released June 25 by Ireland's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 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, the island nation 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 TBED 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.

Major investment areas to receive new funds include university research infrastructure (€640 million), enterprise support (€340 million), and research and commercialization programs (€900 million).

The strategy is available at:

Recent Research: Harnessing Geographic Knowledge Spillovers to Fuel Regional Growth

[Editor's Note: SSTI is excited to welcome Phillip Battle to its staff as a policy analyst. The author of this article, Phil recently received his Master in Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin. His area of research interest is technology policy and economic development.]

A forthcoming article from Regional Studies suggests that despite the rise of the Internet as a global medium for the distribution of knowledge, location still matters within the innovation community. Proximity and industry networks speed the transmission of new technologies, which in turn accelerates regional growth.

Thomas Döring of the University of Cassel and Philipps-University Marburg and Jan Schellenbach of Philipps-University Marburg present more than 50 years of theory and empirical research examining the spread of knowledge across regional economies. The article explores several hypotheses about how and why the dissemination of new technologies is limited by proximity and, more importantly, why disadvantaged regions persistently fail to benefit from technological advances.

The authors differentiate knowledge from information. Knowledge is a broader category of understanding, which encompasses the ability to solve problems but may be difficult to transmit through language, codified science or media.

Empirical evidence suggests all knowledge, even that which is made public and non-excludible, is more efficiently diffused though personal, informal relationships. Tacit knowledge, understanding and skills transmitted by the movement and interaction of human capital, is the most effective vehicle for the spread of new technologies. Even though industry research may be published in publicly available outlets, proximity and participation in industry networks remain more important in securing access to new knowledge.

This knowledge does not spread uniformly. Many regions continually miss out on the productivity benefits of new technologies. Disadvantaged regions tend to experience an ever-widening technology gap. Döring and Schellenbach cite the work of Marjolein Canils, holding that knowledge tends to spread first to neighboring R&D centers, and then to the periphery of those centers. The likelihood of absorption in periphery areas is determined by the usefulness of the new knowledge in light of already accumulated knowledge.

Firms and economies clearly benefit from the accumulated knowledge within the region and from the presence of strong networks of firms, R&D laboratories, and venture capital. Firms gain access to regionally stored knowledge through formal networks and partnerships and also through informal means, such as social networks between managers and the movement of local labor.

Sophisticated models created within the New Economic Geography literature explain the growth rate of regions based on the accumulation of knowledge. Tacit knowledge is received incrementally through flows between regions and networks and fuels productivity gains. Growth rates increase based on the amount of accumulated, but still relevant, knowledge.

The authors are hesitant to make normative claims about the value of regional policies specifically intended to maximize the benefit of knowledge spillovers. Döring and Schellenbach recommend further study on the subjects of research proximity and the mechanisms of regional knowledge spillovers. A more advanced understanding of these phenomena could yield insights into site selection, labor resources, and the development of disadvantaged areas.

Empirical studies within the literature, however, have already demonstrated the value of building strong local and regional networks. These networks exert an essential, significantly positive impact on innovative activity." Regions with strong formal and informal networks, built through technology councils, networking events and industry partnerships, have a clear competitive advantage over other regional economies.

What Do We Know About Geographical Knowledge Spillovers and Regional Growth? - A Survey of the Literature is available at:

Links to this paper and 4,000 additional TBED-related research reports, strategic plans and other papers can be found at the Tech-based Economic Development (TBED) Resource Center, jointly developed by the Technology Administration and SSTI, at

Making Summer Travel Plans? Check Out SSTI's Calendar of TBED Events

It's probably the case that not all of your travel over the next few months will be for personal vacation. Conference excursions can stimulate new ideas, add to your professional growth, and establish or strengthen opportunities for collaboration. In addition to reserving Oct. 31-Nov. 2 for SSTI's 10th Annual Conference in Oklahoma City, we encourage you to check out our web calendar of events to scan more than 140 additional opportunities for professional development.

International Innovation Investments Announced in France, Russia, China


President Jacques Chirac announced last month plans to invest nearly 600 million euros ($758.6 million US) into five high-tech government-industry projects. The projects center on making France a European leader in innovation, as well as restoring national pride, which is currently low, according to Global Insight. The five initial projects were selected by France's Agency for Industrial Innovation (AII), which was launched last year with an investment budget of 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion US). Following is a description of each project and funding levels:

Singapore Plans $4.6B R&D Investment

Hard evidence of the increasing global research competence discussed in the Thursby's paper above was provided last week when the Singapore Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) announced plans last week to commit $7.5 billion ($4.6 billion US) over the next five years to sustain innovation-driven growth through economic-oriented R&D. All figures below are in U.S. dollars.

Britain to Double Support for Stem Cell Research

Britain’s Pre Budget Report 2005, released Dec. 5, calls for the United Kingdom to double spending for stem cell research to £100M within the next two years and launch a number of new initiatives to sustain innovation and science. The plan also calls for the creation of a National Institute for Health Research to support 10 new university-based centers for excellence in medical research, as many as 250 academic fellowships and 100 clinical lecture training opportunities each year, according to the Press Association.