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James Milway, executive director of the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity.
James Milway, executive director of the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity.

Earlier discussion

How can universities help cities grow? Add to ...

11:08

[Comment From Jim Milway]

In the drug industry you have a bunch of companies who really do understand the importance of research. Here In Ontario I understand the government, industry, and academia are collaborating on making Ontario a world leader in drug trials. It plays to our strength and our population diversity.

11:09

[Comment From David]

There is some funding specifically to address this need (industry-academe collaboration) through the Ontario Centres of Excellence programs - a program model that has been adopted by other regions, incidentally.

11:10

[Comment From Jim Milway]

More generally, we have to put the pressure on our businesses through making markets more competitive and welcoming international trade. We've done lots on the tax front and we've funded our university research pretty well. But without competitive pressure, many businesses won't feel the need.

11:12

[Comment From Jim Milway]

We also need to recognize that our manager cadre in Canada has to improve. Right now only a third of people in the management occupations have a university degree. Just over a half do in the US. Sophisticated managers and businesses will draw on research capabilities at universities.

11:13

Niamh O'Doherty - Can you expand on that a little Jim? What are the best ways to encourage a more improved group of managers?

11:16

[Comment From Jim Milway]

Well this will sound self serving given my affiliation with Rotman. But we produce far fewer business grads per capita than in the US. We actually produce more in science and engineering (Ontario results). It' s mostly a supply problem - there are fewer spaces available for undegrad commerce especially. The marks a student needs to get in to a program are ridiculous.

11:16

[Comment From Janice Paskey]

Jim, as far as I can tell universities are about research. Maybe managers don't need university, maybe they need training, coaching and shorter programs.

11:16

[Comment From Guest]

Do you think there is a need for more R&D within private industry itself in Canada? From what I know, drug companies here focus on marketing/advertising and sales, most of the R&D is in the States (except for maybe Sanofi-Pasteur in Toronto). Merck-Frosst in Montreal was the last biggest private industry with 300 scientists that shut down over a year ago... perhaps this is a reflection of the lack of R&D going on in industry and too much reliance on academia in universities to run the show?

11:17

[Comment From Jim Milway]

Another area would be in the incubators. I would encourage them to ensure that they are spending as much time on the business strategy of their firms as they are on the science.

11:19

[Comment From Guest]

Jim, do you have any advice for an undergraduate arts & cultural student regarding talent refinement. To utilize the talent of students who seek further connections with the business sectors.

11:20

[Comment From Jim Milway]

R&D is a funny. Just doing R&D won't get you the spillovers. You could make the case that companies can look around the world - or just across the border for the R&D they need. But those companies who have an aggressive strategy are more likely to do some of their own R&D. So in a sense private sector R&D investment is a signal that we have top notch companies

11:24

[Comment From Jim Milway]

I really do think business provides a fantastic outlet and opportunity for people with an arts and cultural background. Business is about problem solving and interacting with others - customers, suppliers, competitors. The issues arising there have to be relevant to arts and humanities. One area that is hot right now is business design from traditional industrial design to applying those principles to business processes.

11:26

[Comment From Jim Milway]

We've also done some research that shows the wage rewards to greater social intelligence skills (e.g., writing, team building) are steeper than for analytical skills. Google Ontario in the Creative Age - done by the Martin Prosperity Institute.

11:26

Niamh O'Doherty - Thanks Jim. Any last thoughts on the subject before we wrap up this live chat?

11:28

[Comment From Jim Milway]

Going back to cities and universities, I urge the two solitudes to understand each other better. Economic development is closely related to post secondary education and cities are becoming more and more important actors. They need each other.

11:29

Niamh O'Doherty - Thanks very much Jim, and thanks to the readers for some insightful and interesting questions. Please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section - looks like there's a lot to talk about!

11:29

[Comment From Jim Milway]

My pleasure.

11:30

Niamh O'Doherty - Thanks again everyone.



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