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Mario Polèse McGill University: On the Local Economic Development Impacts of Regional Universities. A Canadian Perspective

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Professor Mario Polèse, Senior Adjunct Professor, School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Co-director, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Montreal delivered this presentation at the …

Professor Mario Polèse, Senior Adjunct Professor, School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Co-director, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Montreal delivered this presentation at the 2013 Regional Universities conference. The event focuses on policy and funding for Australia’s regional tertiary education and its impact on service delivery and sustainable development. For more information about the event, visit the conference website: http://www.informa.com.au/regionalunis

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  • 1. On the Local Economic Development Impacts of Regional Universities A Canadian Perspective Mario Polèse INRS - University of Quebec Centre - Urbanisation Culture Société Montreal, QC, Canada Keynote Address. Regional Universities Conference, Southern Cross University, QLD, Australia, November 14 and 15th 2013 mario.polese@inrs-ucs.ca 1
  • 2. Introduction Let me begin with the conclusion. • Regional universities can have significant positive impacts on local economies. • The chief impact is generally the direct employment effect, especially for universities in smaller outlying communities. • Most other benefits are too diffuse and general to measure. • Universities can generate knowledge-intensive clusters (spinoffs…), but this generally requires other conditions:  A strong engineering and science component  Ideally, in a community with an established industrial heritage  Within reasonable distance of a large metropolitan area. 2
  • 3. Introduction 2 Why proximity to a large urban centre matters: • Invention and Innovation are the grey-matter inputs in which universities excel. These need not necessarily take place in the large urban centres (although it helps). • However, production (after the initial start-up phase), marketing, and distribution are another matter. These will necessarily be drawn to large urban centres. • The most, brain, contact, and information-intensive firms will be drawn to central city locations, while space-extensive production (essentially manufacturing) will move to more outlying areas. • Let us look at Canada and North America 3
  • 4. 4
  • 5. Canada (GDP km2) 5
  • 6. Size and Location • A rapid look at growth patterns in Canada and North America (next two slides). • It helps to be big, and if not, then close and well connected. • In North America, as in Australia, the shift is towards coastal locations, communications corridors, and the sun. • Without size and / or location, nurturing, holding, and attracting knowledge-rich firms is much more difficult. 6
  • 7. Population Growth (1971 = 1.0) Canada 1971-2006 1.7 8 Metropolitan Areas (500k+) 1.6 1.5 1.4 90 Minute Radius Peripheral (below 100k) Peripheral (above 100k) 1.3 1.2 1.1 1 1970 7 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
  • 9. Where are our Top Universities ? • Canada and Australia exhibit similar patterns. • The three highest ranked universities in Canada are in the three largest cities: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. • In Australia, Canberra aside, the top-ranked universities are in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. • In Canada, the apparent expectation is McMaster, but Hamilton is a major urban area (population 500k+) within commuting range of Greater Toronto 9
  • 10. MOST RECENT RANKING OF UNIVERSITIES (IN TOP 150). CANADA AND AUSTRALIA Weighted University Country City Times-QS Shanghai Webometrics Average U. of Toronto Canada Toronto 21 28 24 24.3 UBC Canada Vancouver 30 40 16 28.7 McGill University Canada Montreal 34 58 72 54.7 Australian National U. Australia Canberra 37 66 74 59.0 U. of Melbourne Australia Melbourne 28 54 100 60.7 U. of Queensland Australia Brisbane 65 85 126 92.0 U of Sydney Australia Sydney 62 97 123 94.0 Monash U. Australia Melbourne 99 125 83 102.3 U. of Alberta Canada Edmunton 121 125 77 107.7 NSW U. Australia Sydney 85 125 117 109.0 McMaster U. Canada Hamilton 88 92 161 113.7 U. of Montreal Canada Montreal 84 125 168 125.7 http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012-13/world-ranking http://www.shanghairanking.com/ http://www.webometrics.info/ 10
  • 11. And the Second Tier of Top-ranked Universities ? • • • • In Australia, the next two are in the next two largest urban areas (Perth and Adelaide). The relationship with size seems almost mathematical. In Canada, the only truly “regional” university is Queens, located midway between Montreal and Toronto (about 300km from each) in the midsized town of Kingston (150k), site of Canada's military academy, the town’s two major employers.  No noteworthy high-tech spin-offs. No cluster. Victoria, BC, is a capital city. London, ON, has a population of 500k. The more interesting case is the U. of Waterloo, to which we shall return. 11
  • 12. SECOND TIER TOP RANKED UNIVERSITIES. TOP 150-200+. CANADA AND AUSTRALIA Weighted University Country City Times-QS Shanghai Webometrics Average Simon Fraser U. Canada Vancouver 200 200 83 161.0 U. of Western Australia Australia Perth 196 91 200 162.3 U. of Waterloo Canada Kitchener-Waterloo 200 175 122 165.7 York U. Canada Toronto 200 200 118 172.7 Queens U. Canada Kingston, ON 200 200 148 182.7 U. of Ottawa Canada Ottawa 171 200 179 183.3 U. of Victoria Canada Victoria, BC 196 200 160 185.3 U. of Adelaide Australia Adelaide 176 200 200 192.0 U. of Western Ontario Canada London, ON 200 200 196 198.7 http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012-13/world-ranking http://www.shanghairanking.com/ http://www.webometrics.info/ 12
  • 13. Size and Location Matter-2 • Let us take a second look at size and location (next three slides). • Knowledge-rich service industries are at the heart of metropolitan economies. • Firms for which these are essential inputs will not locate too far. • The pattern for high-tech industries in Canada needs little explanation, strongly concentrated in the greater Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor. • Vancouver, despite its size, has failed to develop a major high-tech cluster. 13
  • 14. Employment: Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. Relative Specialization (Canada = 1.00) Metro, PeriMetro, and Peripheral Areas (2006) 1.40 1.30 1.20 Peri-Metro : Within a 90 Minute Drive Peripheral: Beyonf a 90 Minute Drive 1.10 1.00 0.90 0.80 0.70 0.60 0.50 0.40 14 0.30 Major Metro Areas (500k+) 100 -500k 10 - 100k <10k
  • 15. 2.00 Employment in High-Tech Industries. Relative Specialization (Canada = 1.00) Metro, PeriMetro, and Peripheral Areas (2006) 1.80 Peri-Metro: Within a 90 Minute Drive 1.60 1.40 Peripheral: Beyonf a 90 Minute Drive 1.20 1.00 0.80 0.60 0.40 0.20 - 15 Major Metro (500k+) 100 -500k 10 - 100k <10k
  • 16. 16
  • 17. A Tale of Three Regional Universities 1. St. Francis Xavier University: An elite liberal arts universality (5000 students) in a pleasant setting, located in the small Nova Scotia town of Antigonish (population, 4,500) some 170km from Halifax. 2. Cornell University: A world-class university, ranked higher then any Canadian or Australian University (41 Nobel laureates), 24,000 students, 7,000 graduate. Located in the upstate New York town of Ithaca (population, 30,000), an equally pleasant setting, some 240km from Buffalo. 3. University of Waterloo: founded in 1959 with a strong engineering and science focus (30,000 students, 4,000 graduate). Located in the Kitchener-Waterloo urban area 17 (population 500,000) some 90km from Toronto
  • 18. St. Francis Xavier 18
  • 19. St. Francis Xavier University • THE economic base industry of the community. • No visible business spin-offs • This should come as no surprise, given the nature of the university (its prestige notwithstanding) and location. • North Coast Nova Scotia, although with specular scenery and a laid-back life-style, is simply far from everything. 19
  • 20. Cornell University 20
  • 21. Cornell University • A different story. • A truly “great” university, in the same league as Cambridge or Harvard. • A truly spectacular setting with a superb campus. • Yet, Cornell has not given rise to significant spin-offs (at least none that have remained in the region). • There is nothing resembling a high-tech cluster in or near the town of Ithaca. • Ithaca is located in a remote area in western New York State, in decline over the last half century (return to map of North America) 21
  • 22. University of Waterloo 22
  • 23. University of Waterloo • A major high-tech cluster has sprung up around the University of Waterloo with multiple spin-offs of which BlackBerry is the best known. • A top-ranked science and engineering university. However, that is only half the story. • The Kitchener-Waterloo urban area has a long manufacturing tradition and reputation for craftsmanship (strong German imprint. Kitchener was called Berlin before WW I). • The area houses a second university (Wilfred Laurier U: 15,000 students). The region has a Lutheran-rooted education tradition. • An hour’s drive from Toronto and its airport, well connected by highways and transit. 23
  • 24. Conclusion • Universities are important actors in regional economies. • In many cases, the primary impact will be direct: a source of jobs and demand for local goods and services, often the principal employer in the community. • Universities can also be engines of growth. However, the strength of that impact will, among other things, depend on:  The nature of the university.  The size of the community.  The community’s proximity to a large urban centre.  The community’s industrial heritage. 24
  • 25. Thank You! – Merci! 25