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Science and Technology Parks – the Latest

How have mobile and remote professionals and researchers impacted this product of the 1950's?
In today’s global economy it is vital for regions to maintain their competitiveness.

Science and technology parks have been around since the 1950’s, first introduced in the U.S.   Today, these science/technology developments have a presence in virtually every developed nation around the world.

 

A formal definition for these facilities is offered by the International Association of Science Parks (IASP): ” … a science park is an organization managed by specialized professionals, whose main aim is to increase the wealth of its community by promoting the culture of innovation and the competitiveness of its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions.”    These special-form business parks, including business and technology incubators, have become a well-established economic development strategy for communities and countries, and a distinct type of real estate development.

 

In today’s global economy, it is vital for nations and regions to maintain their competitiveness. A major factor in this is the development of innovative products and services, which in turn depends significantly upon the efficiency in the transfer of technology from academic and research institutions to industry.  Many industrialized nations now talk of a “knowledge-based economy.”   Science and technology parks are one means to facilitating the growth of these industries.

 

Many of these technology parks operate with a direct connection with local universities, relying upon local university expertise to exploit opportunities in such cutting-edge new scientific fields as computer chips, bioinformatics, photonics, information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, optoelectronics and a host of other technologies.

 

Science and technology parks are now operating in every region of the world, with new forms and implementation mechanisms emerging with the next wave of development. Specialist firms are in place that develop and operate these parks in multiple locations, leveraging relationships and expertise across multiple sites. Representatives of these parks routinely reach out to “sister facilities” in other regions of the world to foster strategic alliances and further competitive advantage.

 

Real Estate Consultants - office and industrial science and technology park

Science and Technology Parks provide an environment where larger and international businesses can develop specific interactions with a particular center of knowledge-creation for their mutual benefit.

Defining a Science and Technology Park

To enable these goals to be met, a Science Park stimulates and manages the flow of knowledge and technology amongst universities, R&D; institutions, companies and markets; it facilitates the creation and growth of innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off processes; and provides other value-added services together with high quality space and facilities.

 

Clearly, an important aspect of this definition is that Science and Technology Parks provide an environment where larger and international businesses can develop specific interactions with a particular center of knowledge-creation for their mutual benefit.

 

We note that such other organizations as United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA), the Association of Universities Related to Research Parks (AURRP), the Association for Technology and Business Incubation Center (ADT), and the U.S. National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) have offered related definitions for research parks, innovation centers, incubators, and the like, each of which are singular elements in an overall Science and Technology Parks framework.

History of Science and Technology Parks

This special form of business park was first an American phenomenon, dating back to the 1950’s when they were devised to meet the needs of entrepreneurial-minded academics.   These initial sponsors saw the opportunity to commercially exploit their own areas of technology, but desired to remain close to their academic institutions further invention and trained graduate manpower was in place.

 

Within the U.K. these technology-transfer venues started in 1971 with the formation of parks at Heriot-Watt University (Scotland) and at Cambridge University.  These “pioneering” facilities were each established by their respective academic institutions. Additional initiatives throughout the rest of Europe commenced at roughly the same time.

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