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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.

NewsWeekChina has launched a concerted effort to bring home top talent from the United States.

For nearly 15 years, china has been trying to engineer a "brain gain" by luring top scientific and technical talent home from the United States, and it's working. One major success story is the National Institute for Biological Sciences, created in 2003 with several advantages. Freed from the fundraising pressures of the U.S.—and from the often mindless red tape of traditional state-run Chinese institutions—researchers there say their lab environment, financed by the Chinese government, trumps what they could expect in America. They know from experience, since all 23 were educated in the U.S. In 2005 Dr. Feng Shao, 37, left Harvard Medical School to return to China after receiving a more generous deal from NIBS, where he now studies bacterial pathogens in a top-class lab, with a $300,000 annual budget. He says that in the U.S., "I might have a lab with just a few students and technicians. Here I have 16 or 17." The bottom line, says Shao, is that while his team has published six scientific papers since 2005, "elsewhere I might have done just two."

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NewsweekInnovation is as American as baseball and apple pie. But some traditions can't be trademarked.

By most measures, America remains the world leader in technological achievement. Consider the 2009 Nobel Prizes: of the 13 people honored, nine were American. Once you take out the economics, literature, and peace prizes, the United States, with 5 percent of the world's population, still won close to 70 percent of the awards. Even amid a terrible recession, the country still dominates the fields of information technology, life sciences, and nanotechnology, all key industries of the future. The World Economic Forum routinely cites America as having the most competitive economy on the planet (though this year it was narrowly overtaken by Switzerland). When decision makers are asked to rank countries on innovation, the United States always comes first by a large margin.
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This column takes the angle of a field naturalist to consider Asian ecosystems and find reasons for success, failure and innovation. It is a guest column written monthly for the Chinese business magazine “China Electronic Business” (invested by Jack Ma of Alibaba), IT news site Interfax and the magazine “Business Forum China“. It also turned as the basis of an MBA class we gave at Berkeley. A recent TechCrunch article gave a great illustration with the matchmaking service Zhenai.

In the early 19th Century, Charles Darwin embarked on a five-year journey as a field naturalist. On a visit to the Galapagos Islands he observed animals that were closely related but had some distinctive features. That triggered his thinking about possible common ancestors and the formulation of the theory of evolution. The story of this discovery teaches us that a lot can be learned from small differences. This applies to China’s digital scene as well. Here is how.

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If the past week is any indication, big pharma is showing that it is willing to pay for biotech innovation. On the receiving end this week, Alder Biopharmaceuticals stands to reap more than $1 billion from collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) for the development and commercialization of ALD518, a novel biologic that has completed phase 2a development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Bothell, Washington-based Alder is granting Bristol-Myers Squibb worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize ALD518 for all potential indications except cancer, for which Alder will retain rights and grant Bristol-Myers Squibb an option to co-develop and commercialize outside the United States. In return, Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay Alder an upfront cash payment of $85 million, potential development-based and regulatory-based milestone payments of up to $764 million across a range of indications, and potential sales-based milestones that may exceed $200 million and royalties on net sales. Alder also has an option to require Bristol-Myers Squibb to make an equity investment of up to $20 million in Alder during an initial public offering.

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NYTAny time anyone tells you that a dream is impossible, any time you’re discouraged by impossible challenges, just mutter this mantra: Tererai Trent.

Jo Luck, center, of Heifer International in her first meeting with Tererai Trent, who is to her right. Of all the people earning university degrees this year, perhaps the most remarkable story belongs to Tererai (pronounced TEH-reh-rye), a middle-aged woman who is one of my heroes. She is celebrating a personal triumph, but she’s also a monument to the aid organizations and individuals who helped her. When you hear that foreign-aid groups just squander money or build dependency, remember that by all odds Tererai should be an illiterate, battered cattle-herd in Zimbabwe and instead — ah, but I’m getting ahead of my story.

 

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AUGUSTA, Maine - The Department of Economic and Community Development's (DECD) Office of Innovation is presenting phase two of the State’s Science and Technology Action Plan at the Creative Economy Conference, Juice 2.0.

"Maine's economy is facing global competition and we need to compete through innovation," said DECD Commissioner John Richardson. "Much of the research in Maine is not being commercialized or connected to our industries in a way that maximizes economic value to the state. This Action Plan is a bold approach to stimulate Maine's economy and will encourage investments in innovation, R&D and entrepreneurship."

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New Zealand is still having problems transferring technology from universities and other public research organisations into the private sector, Prof Sir Peter Gluckman says.

Prof Gluckman, chief science adviser to Prime Minister John Key, made his comments in an open lecture attended by more than 300 people at the University of Otago's St David Lecture Theatre.

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World leaders meeting in Singapore have said it will not be possible to reach a climate change deal ahead of next month's UN conference in Denmark.

After a two-day Asia-Pacific summit, they vowed to work towards an "ambitious outcome" in Copenhagen.

But the group dropped a target to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which was outlined in an earlier draft.

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Ontario is supporting a new commercialization centre that will help digital media entrepreneurs build new companies and create jobs.

The province plans to invest more than $26 million in The Communitech Hub: Digital Media & Mobile Accelerator (“The Hub”), a new centre that will help emerging digital media companies grow and succeed in the global market. In particular, The Hub will look beyond the entertainment sector to focus on companies creating hardware and software for industries, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare and finance.

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WashingtonPostEnterprising students compete for seed money in 'Pitch George' contest

Tim Foley pulled out a glossy black brochure and started talking fast. He had three minutes to sell his idea for a social networking Web site for car lovers. That's all he needed.

"This is a once in a lifetime idea," said Arlington Butler, a small-business owner and George Washington University alumnus who returned to campus to judge Saturday's "Pitch George" competition. He saw Facebook-esque potential in Foley's idea.

 

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Monday was a good day for Accel Partners.

The venture capital firm looked set to share in a $1.15 billion payout, as two of its investments scored buyers. First up was Playfish, which Electronic Arts said it was snapping up for as much as $400 million in cash and stock. Then came the news that Google had inked a deal to buy the mobile advertising network Admob for $750 million.

While it’s unclear how much Accel actually made on the deals, VentureBeat noted that “with the exit price amounting to more than 10 times the venture capital invested ($21 million for Playfish, a little more than $47 million for AdMob), we can be pretty sure that the folks at Accel are pretty pleased.”
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