regional initiatives

The Carlisle Institute undertakes a number of initiatives that focus on specific regional objectives, because they can validate or disprove our strategic research findings but also because they provide valuable experience with respect to key challenges that we face in terms of health, education and economic development require that families, communities and individuals play a much more expanded role. At the same time, trust in political institutions has suffered. We urgently need to close the gap between these political institutions and the public they serve.

A number of regional research projects are currently underway.

Atlantic eHealth Strategic Initiative
This research project begins with the now well-understood premise that health care costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation. Shifts in demographics in Atlantic Canada will push health care costs even higher in coming years. Expectations concerning health care outcomes increasingly reflect technological and pharmacological advances that may continue to drive costs. In this environment, governments should pursue an analysis of all cost-saving solutions that do not contribute to increases in clinical risk.

Key among these cost saving avenues is consolidating health data and finding workable eHealth opportunities with the prospect that these solutions could create Atlantic-wide centre of excellence and economic development initiatives. One of the key attributes of a successful strategy will be speed. Typically, initiatives of this type are driven by government which possesses neither the resources nor the competitive impetus to mobilize a complex solution to market. In addition, significant opportunities exist to rationalize and harmonize regional functional elements of eHealth to reduce costs for each jurisdiction. Ultimately, these initiatives could result in the creation of a substantial number of jobs associated with regional eHealth centres and additional high-paid employment in eHealth-focused enterprises where markets could extend to the rest of Canada. As U.S. health programs come on line, there will be additional strong opportunities to market Atlantic eHealth expertise.

One of the core elements of this research project involves Carlisle Institute convening a core group of senior decision-makers and executives from around the world who have responsibilities for eHealth, technology, management and healthcare solutions. They will meet in a roundtable environment with federal and provincial government officials to identify and discuss practical and immediate eHealth opportunities going forward. A key objective will be to outline a strategy promoting Atlantic-wide eHealth initiatives, including the creation of an Atlantic eHealth Data and development centres, and identifying their risks, benefits and costs, time lines, with relevant case studies. The challenge will be to determine if Atlantic Canada can provide leadership to these initiatives. An additional challenge will be to determine the scope and scale of economic growth and revenue-generating opportunities provided by eHealth business development, including creating eHealth Centres of Excellence driving private sector-led eHealth industry growth into Canada and the U.S. Finally, a key objective will be to develop a strategic plan coordinating next steps for immediate opportunities. The roundtable will feature a two-day executive roundtable featuring 50 discussants and 100 additional participants, including key international and Atlantic region stakeholders. Attendance will be by invitation.

For more information about this initiative, contact

How Pubic Policy Sustains Competitiveness in Small Urban Regions
How can small, relatively isolated urban regions sustain competitiveness and prosperity in an increasingly globally integrated world economy? This study will identify public policies which have the potential to increase the economic prosperity of smaller urban areas. We will focus on identifying characteristics associated with smaller metro areas that performed better than expected and worse than expected during the 1990s, given their resources, industrial mix, and location as of 1990. Once these characteristics have been identified, we review for evidence that public policy choices may have promoted and enhanced an urban area's ability to succeed and to regain control of its own economic growth trajectory.

We review whether indications exist that those who succeed and those who do not are qualitatively different from other areas in ways that may indicate consequences of policy choices. A cluster analysis will group the urban areas based on changes in a range of social, economic, and demographic variables between 1990 and 2000. The study will use contingency table analysis to help determine or losing, as measured by the error term from the regression, is related to the grouping of urban areas in a way that may indicate the presence of deliberate and replicable government policy. And to achieve prosperity, what new business models would enterprises create in support of this evidence?

Critical Support and Competitive Pressure
In this research project, the Carlisle Institute seeks to measure the effectiveness of New Brunswick’s emerging clusters of traded industries. The project will also review whether New Brunswick’s market structures provide inadequate specialized support and competitive pressure to firms and individuals. Drawing on the research of a number of key partners, Carlisle will determine whether New Brunswick provides an adequate level of general support to the economy in infrastructure and basic education and whether New Brunswick’s clusters and the overall economy are benefiting from critical specialized support, such as university-industry collaboration and specialized research and training. Research has shown that this is the kind of specialization that creates world-class advantage for companies and workers. Finally, this project will seek to determine whether New Brunswick possesses the structures that create conditions of intense competitive pressure from firm rivalry and sophisticated customers, a known condition for successful competitiveness.

Assessing New Brunswick’s ICT Cluster
New Brunswick’s information communications technology (ICT) industries are critical drivers of prosperity in the province. But their success is in jeopardy as the industry undergoes increasing globalization. What do government policy makers and industry participants need to do to ensure that they are building a globally competitive ICT industry in New Brunswick? Does the industry possess the potential critical mass to constitute a cluster? This study will review the importance of such factors as management expertise, venture capital and infrastructure support in developing successful startup firms and review the shortfalls in developing the necessary capabilities to compete in export markets. The study will also review the role of entrepreneurship support of the academic and government sectors.

Innovation and Commercialization Policy in Atlantic Canada
This study evaluates government policy focus on the demand for innovation and funding of R&D and the hard sciences to improve innovation performance in Atlantic Canada. As a first step to conducting research into the commercialization of R&D, Carlisle will review innovation factors. The study proposes assessing two complementary factors: the support for innovation and the pressure for innovation and seeks to understand whether government policy in Canada has focused inordinately on support for innovation, and specifically on hard sciences and technology. Assumptions focused on successful commercialization emphasizes that, in order to create an effective innovation environment, it is equally important that there be support from management that motivates corporate operations and strategies. The study also will review how public policy needs to foster greater pressure on industry since, irrespective of how much government support is given for innovation, firms tend only to innovate to the extent that customers and competitors pressure them. The study will determine how much this pressure exists in Atlantic Canada and its impact.

For more information about this commercialization project, contact

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