The 2008 10th Annual ISRN Conference takes place at the Hôtel Omni Mont-Royal in Montréal this week. To see Agendas, Presentations and Papers Click Here...

SSHRC Headlines Today: Going Global in a Regional Economy - Researchers David Wolfe and Meric Gertler study local approaches to international success. More...


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The Innovations Systems Research Network (ISRN) is a network of researchers examining innovation in various cities and regions across Canada. The members of the network are loosely associated with four sub-networks: in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and Western Canada. The ISRN's goal is to better understand how economic, social, and political conditions influence innovation and hence economic development at the local, regional, and national level. The knowledge resulting from this research is intended to assist policy-makers at all three levels of government to better understand innovation dynamics and craft more effective policy.

About Us

Launched in 1998 with initial funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the National Research Council (NRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), ISRN provides:

  • a process to increase collaboration and pooling of research results;

  • a forum for discussion and dissemination of results;

  • a channel to acquire and distribute data and other material for collective use by the members of the network;

  • a means to develop better understanding of the local and regional innovation systems in their respective parts of the country;

  • a network to systematically compare research findings across cities and regions, thus contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the national innovation system in Canada.

In 2001, ISRN was awarded a Major Collaborative Research Initiative grant from SSHRC to undertake its first five year program of research on cluster-driven innovation in Canada with additional support from NRC, Statistics Canada and several other federal and provincial departments and agencies. Many of this project’s findings are available in conference presentations and publications on this website and in the ISRN Book Series.

Building on this work the members of ISRN launched a second Major Collaborative Research Initiative project in 2006 to study innovation and creativity in city regions across Canada. The project examines how knowledge flows within city regions, within specific industrial sectors and across sectors, why certain cities attract and retain creative and innovative thinkers and how this in turn contributes to social inclusiveness, civic engagement, and a dynamic economy. The research focuses on three themes: the social dynamics of innovation, creativity and social inclusion, and civic governance.


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