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A university research park, science park, or science and technology park is an area where innovation is key. It is a physical place that supports university-industry and government collaboration with the intent of creating high technology economic development and advancing knowledge. There are many approximate synonyms for "university research park", science park", technology park, technopolis and biopark. The appropriate term typically depends on the type of affiliation the parks has with an institution of higher learning and research, and also perhaps the sort of science and research in which the park's entities engage.
These parks differ from typical high-technology business districts in that university research parks and science and tech parks are more organized, planned, and managed. They differ from science centres in that they are a place where research is commercialized. Typically businesses and organizations in the parks focus on product advancement and innovation as opposed to industrial parks that focus on manufacturing and business parks that focus on administration.
The parks offer a number of shared resources, such as incubators, programs and collaboration activities, uninterruptible power supply, telecommunications hubs, reception and security, management offices, restaurants, bank offices, convention center, parking, internal transportation, entertainment and sports facilities, etc. In this way, the park offers considerable advantages to hosted companies.
Science and technology parks are supported universities in order to bring in industry with which they can collaborate, and by local government, in order to improve the prosperity of the community. Incentives to attract companies to the area are often offered as part of the entire package.
The world's first university research park started in the early 1950s near Stanford University, and foreshadowed the community known today as Silicon Valley. Another early university research park was, and is, Research Triangle Park.
While parks vary widely in size and shape, from urban high-rises to suburban or rural locations, a typical American university research park is located in a suburban community with a population of less than 500,000 and is operated by a university or a university-affiliated non-profit organization. The companies in a typical park are primarily private sector, but the park is also home to university and government facilities.
Sharing of ideas
In Europe, Pierre Laffitte, the mastermind and founder of Sophia Antipolis Science Park in France, described the concept of cross fertilization as the interchange between different cultures or different ways of thinking that is mutually productive and beneficial; "the cross-fertilization of science and the creative arts" not only in terms of economic, but also on a social and cultural level. He applied this concept for the creation of Sophia Antipolis science park. In 1960, the French newspaper Le Monde published an article written by Senator Pierre Laffitte titled "Le Quartier Latin aux Champs," partly inspired by observations made while visiting the United States, Sweden, the UK, and France, his theory was that creativity is born through the exchange between industrial, scientific, philosophical, and artistic minds.He decided to apply the concept in France, thus the Sophia Antipolis Science Park.
Science parks are sources of entrepreneurship, talent, and economic competitiveness, and are key elements of the infrastructure supporting the growth of today's global knowledge economy. By providing a location in which government, universities and private companies cooperate and collaborate, science parks create environments that foster collaboration and innovation. They enhance the development, transfer, and commercialization of technology.
Strategically planned mixed-use research parks are emerging and involve shared space in which industry and academic researchers can work side by side. They embody a commitment by universities to partake in broader activities, offering companies high-value sites for accessing researchers, specialized facilities, and students, and promoting live-work-play environments. Key features of these mixed-use developments include space for significant future research growth; multi-tenant facilities to house researchers and companies; and housing, along with other amenities which are attractive to young faculty, post-doctoral and graduate students.
Parks are also being developed to leverage the assets of non-university research and development organizations such as federal laboratories. In addition to universities, major medical research centers and other research organizations can be key drivers of technology-based economic development. It is becoming increasingly common for communities in which a federal laboratory is located to create a research or science park to leverage laboratory resources to realize economic development.
Federal laboratories attract companies that wish to leverage the expertise of the laboratory researchers and to gain access to highly specialized, and often unique, facilities and equipment. Parks can also provide a location for start-up companies created to commercialize technology developed in the labs.
Launching new companies
University research and science parks provide the launch pad that startup companies need when they are "spun out" from a university or company. Park-provided training in such areas as intellectual property law and business planning help the fledgling businesses to succeed. Universities, in turn, benefit by exposure to the business world, and the connection to the cutting-edge research being conducted outside their walls in industry. What all these parks have in common is that they are, at heart, knowledge partnerships that foster innovation.
The typical park provides a range of business startup assistance to its client companies, which are often small startups based on innovative new ideas from university or private sector researchers. The park has an operating budget of less than $1 million a year. Because it is designed as a non-profit entity, the park itself does not generate significant net revenue. 750 people work at jobs there, primarily at information technology companies, pharmaceutical firms, or scientific and engineering service providers. These sorts of companies provide 45 percent of all science park jobs.
Today more than 380,000 workers in North America work in university research parks. According to the AURP-Battelle Technology Practice report, released in October 2007, every job in a research park generates an average of an additional 2.57 jobs in the economy. Science parks are succeeding in incubating and growing companies. According to the Battelle report, nearly 800 firms graduated from park incubators in the past five years, while only thirteen percent failed. About one-quarter of these graduates remain in their park. Fewer than ten percent of the graduates left the region.
University research and science parks are found all over the world, but are mostly concentrated in developed countries; over 170 are found in North America alone. Prominent examples include the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana, Hsinchu Science Park in Taiwan, The Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, NanKang Software Park, The Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sheffield, Cambridge Science Park and NETpark in County Durham, England, Daedeok Innopolis in South Korea and Technopark in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Centennial Campus at North Carolina State University is a case in point. In the 1980s, pressure for space at the main North Carolina State University (NCSU) campus in Raleigh led to exploration of nearby options, including substantial holdings by the state mental-health system and the Diocese of Raleigh on 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) surrounding the old Lake Raleigh Reservoir. Starting in the 1980s, the land was conveyed to NCSU in stages, and serious planning began with the appointment of a former dean of the university's School of Design to the position of campus coordinator.
Sandia Science and Technology Park, and the NASA Research Park at Ames are examples of research parks that have been developed by or adjacent to federal laboratories. Another example is the East Tennessee Technology Park at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Other examples of U.S. science parks are the Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama, and the University of Wisconsin Research Park in Madison, Wisconsin. Begun in 1962, Cummings today is home to 285 companies which employ over 25,000 employees.
Brazil is one of the developing countries that has strongly encouraged the establishment of technology parks and business incubators, mostly for budding small high tech companies. Several dozens of such parks are now in existence. In the state of São Paulo, the state government has sponsored a technology park program for several cities which have a strong high tech base, such as São Paulo City, Campinas, São José dos Campos and São Carlos. These cities have strong research universities, such as the University of São Paulo, State University of Campinas, Federal University of São Carlos, pure and applied research institutes and high technology companies, such as Embraer, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world. Campinas also boasts the largest number of high-tech business incubators and industrial parks (a total of eight), such as the CIATEC I and II, Softex, TechnoPark, InCamp, Polis, TechTown, Industrial Park of Campinas and others. Because of this Campinas has been dubbed the Brazilian Silicon Valley.
The Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a non-profit association made up of university-affiliated research parks, defines university research and science parks as a property-based venture, which has certain characteristics, of which include:
- Master planned property and buildings designed primarily for private/public research and development facilities, high technology and science based companies, and support services.
- A contractual, formal or operational relationship with one or more science/research institutions of higher education.
- A role in promoting the university's research and development through industry partnerships, assisting in the growth of new ventures and promoting economic development
- A role in aiding the transfer of technology and business skills between university and industry teams A role in promoting technology-led economic development for the community or region.
The International Association of Science Parks explains that the purpose of these parks is to promote the economic development and competitiveness of cities and regions by creating new business, adding value to companies, and creating new knowledge-based jobs.
The Cabral Dahab Science Park Management Paradigm, first presented by Regis Cabral as ten points in 1990, has been influential in the management of science parks around the world and lays down the following conditions for a property development to be considered a science park. According to the management paradigm, a science park must:
- Have access to qualified research and development personnel in the areas of knowledge in which the park has its identity.
- Be able to market its high valued products and services.
- Have the capability to provide marketing expertise and managerial skills to firms, particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, lacking such a resource.
- Be inserted in a society that allows for the protection of product or process secrets, via patents, security or any other means.
- Be able to select or reject which firms enter the park. The firm's business plan is expected to be coherent with the science park identity.
- Have a clear identity, quite often expressed symbolically, as the park's name choice, its logo or the management discourse.
- Have a management with established or recognised expertise in financial matters, and which has presented long term economic development plans.
- Have the backing of powerful, dynamic and stable economic actors, such as a funding agency, political institution or local university.
- Include in its management an active person of vision, with power of decision and with high and visible profile, who is perceived by relevant actors in society as embodying the interface between academia and industry, long-term plans and good management.
- Include a prominent percentage of consultancy firms, as well as technical service firms, including laboratories and quality control firms.
- Business cluster
- Cluster development
- Business incubator
- List of research parks
- List of technology centers
- Cabral, R. and Dahab, S. S. (1993) 'Science Parks in Developing Countries: The Case of BIORIO in Brazil'. In Biotechnology Review No. 1: The Management and Economic Potential of Biotechnology, vol. 1, pp. 165–178.
- Echols, A. E. and Meredith, J. W. (1998) 'A Case Study of the Virginia Tech Corporation Research Centre in the context of the Cabral-Dahab Paradigm, with Comparison to Other US Research Parks', Int. J. Technology Management, Vol. 16, pp. 761–777.
- Cabral, R. (1998) 'Refining the Cabral-Dahab Science Park Management Paradigm', Int. J. Technology Management, Vol. 16, pp. 813–818.
- Cabral, R (ed.) (2003) The Cabral-Dahab Science Park Management Paradigm in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, Uminova Centre, Umeå, Sweden.
- Cabral, R. (2003) 'Development, Science and' in Heilbron, J. (ed.), The Oxford Companion to The History of Modern Science, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 205–207.
- AURP-Battelle, Eileen Walker, "University Research Parks Contribute to Economic Competitiveness: AURP-Battelle Report", http://www.aurp.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=92
- Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, and Association of University Research Parks. "Characteristics and Trends in North American Research Parks: 21st Century Directions." pp. vii-22. Rep. 2007. perras
- Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practice: Report of a Symposium (2009) http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12546
- International Association of Science Parks
- Association of University Research Parks
- UK Science Park Association