Du and Krusekopf research innovation zones
RRU faculty members Charles Krusekopf, School of Business, and Juana Du, School of Communictions and Culture, spent spring and summer 2015 touring "innovation zones" in China through a grant from the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Innovation zones are specially designated areas within China where companies receive special incentives and government support to launch knowledge-based companies. These zones are a key pillar in China's efforts to move from a "Made in China" to a "Created in China" orientation. The project explored three innovation zones, Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-city, and Zhongguancun Science Park in Beijing, and incorporated site visits and interviews with over 60 personnel working for companies, governments and institutions associated with the innovation zones.
Their final research report International Collaboration and Innovation: Comparing Innovation Zones in the Chinese Market was published just before the APEC Summit in the Philippines held on November 18-19, where the President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation, Mr. Stewart Beck, attended an ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) meeting and showcasing the work on innovation that the foundation is doing and supporting. The research report has practical policy implications and will be exposed to international policy circles.
The researchers were impressed by the speed of development and level of government commitment within the innovation zones. For example, in the past ten years the Suzhou Industrial Park has developed a university district that includes 28 universities and resesarch institutes with 80,000 students and over 100 technology firm incubators. It has developed the largest nanotechnology research and commercialization zone in the world, and now collaborates on an equal technical and research footing with institutions such as Waterloo University's Institute of Nanotechnology. Due to the active recruitment of international scholars by Chinese institutions and government support for research and comercialization efforts, innovation partnerships with China have shifted from a transfer of technology basis to true partnerships among institutions at similar levels of development.
The report offers insights on how national innovation policies and goals are being put into practice at a local level. It examines the key attributes necessary for the development of an innovation eco-system within a local area, and reviews the target zones based on these attributes. The attributes examined include human resources, physical resources, capital resources and government support. The report also highlights two innovation partnerships in studied innovation zones that have emerged between Canada and China. It discusses future research that will contribute to a better understanding of the best ways to foster international innovation partnerships in the Asia-Pacific Region.
The research report was supported by Asia Pacific Foundation Innovation Grant, which aims to support policy-oriented research on contemporary Canada-Asia issues and to assist in mapping innovation ecosystems in the Asia Pacific region.