University City Science Center

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University City Science Center
UCScienceCenter logo.png
Established 1963 [1]
President and CEO Stephen S. Tang, PhD [1]
Location University City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Address 3711 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The University City Science Center (UCSC) is the first and largest urban research park in the United States.[2] It was established in 1963 in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia. It provides technology commercialization resources to entrepreneurs, including incubator space with fully equipped laboratories and “plug ‘n play” offices, and programs that nurture and sustain new technology businesses.

An independent 2009 study reported that graduate organizations and current residents of the University City Science Center’s business incubators have created more than 15,000 jobs that remain in the Greater Philadelphia region today and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually.[3]


University City Science Center on the Avenue of Technology

The Science Center occupies approximately 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of real estate along Market Street in West Philadelphia and is located near several major universities and research institutions including The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and The Wistar Institute.

The location facilitates academic collaboration and fosters participation in the region’s largest community of researchers. The Science Center includes a new building, which is LEED certified at the silver level and features one of the largest green roofs in Philadelphia.[4][5]


Proof of Concept Investment[edit]

In response to a report released by the CEO Council for Growth in 2007,[6] that made recommendations on strategies for accelerating new business formation and product development from academic research, the Science Center launched a Proof-of-Concept program to stimulate technology transfer in the mid-atlantic region in 2009. Like centers in other technology hotbeds, including the Deshpande Center at MIT (Cambridge, MA), and the Von Liebig Center at UCSD (San Diego, CA), the QED Proof of Concept Program is a funding and business development program for researchers among 21 academic institutions located in the mid-atlantic region and clustered within and around Greater Philadelphia. In 2012, the QED Program committed $2.4 million to a total of 12 projects, leveraging nearly $9 million in private follow-on technology investment to date.[7] Supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the William Penn Foundation, and Wexford Science and Technology, the Program was highlighted in the Department of Commerce's COMPETES report as a potential model for public-private partnerships that stimulate technology-driven economic development.[8]

Business Incubation[edit]

The Science Center has engaged in formal business incubation since it opened its first shared facility in 2000,[9] followed by the Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Center for Technology Advancement in 2006 [9] and its latest facility in 2009. The Port business incubators offer 35,000 square feet (3,300 m2) of laboratory and office space. The facilities are equipped with a plug ‘n play infrastructure, broadband connectivity and tax advantages. The Port targets emerging, fast-growth companies, providing them with fully equipped wet and dry laboratories, managed office space and office amenities, and access to the Science Center's network.

The Global Soft-Landing Program seeks to facilitate international business in the U.S. by helping global companies establish themselves in local life sciences and information technology markets. Its premise is that Philadelphia offers a favorable location between the nation's regulatory/legislative center in Washington and its financial core in New York. The Science Center was awarded International Business Incubator designation by the National Business Incubator Association in 2012.[10]

Community and Networking[edit]

Launched in 2011, Quorum is a center for entrepreneurs and innovators throughout the region to convene, interact, network and exchange ideas. A modular, “greet, meet, and eat” space facilitates their ability to build knowledge and explore opportunities. The Satellite Quorum offers Science Center-supported programming at various events across the region. The iQuorum integrates online networking tools.

Impact on the Regional Economy[edit]

As of September 2009, the Science Center business incubator has helped launch 351 companies. Of these, 155 are still in business and directly employ 15,686 people in the Greater Philadelphia region.[11] They include Centocor, Neose Technologies, Integral Molecular, SEI, Bentley Systems, 3-D Pharmaceuticals, BioRexis, Acuity, Morphotek, and many others.

The work of the approximately 100 incubator and resident companies that currently call the Science Center home ranges from diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, healthcare systems, bioinformatics, and cognitive science to information technology infrastructure, interactive media, nano-scale imaging, novel materials and clean energy technology.

According to University City Science Center: An Engine of Economic Growth for Greater Philadelphia, which was prepared by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, graduate firms that remain in the Philadelphia area produce $4.2 million in state income taxes and $22 million in Philadelphia city wage taxes every year.[12]

Land development[edit]

The Science Center operates a 17-acre campus on which are built 15 buildings totaling approximately 2,500,000 square feet of working space.[citation needed] All but one of these buildings was built by the Science Center in accordance with a campus development agreement with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. The Science Center filed a lawsuit on May 28, 2010, to stop the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority from seizing two parcels of land in the 3800 block of Market Street in West Philadelphia when the Authority contended that the Science Center was in default of its development agreement in September, 2009.[13] The Science Center argued in its lawsuit that current economic conditions had delayed redevelopment, constituting an unforeseeable cause of the apparent default, and therefore should not be grounds for taking back the land.

The dispute was ended in April 2012, when the two organizations amended the redevelopment agreement to allow more time for the Science Center to complete the development of its 17-acre campus along Market Street in West Philadelphia.[14] In August 2012, the Science Center announced it was to begin development of its next parcel, a 272,700-square-foot building at the northeast corner of 38th and Market streets, to house outpatient medical facilities, ground-floor retail, and office and lab space for startup and growing companies.[15]


UCSC is a nonprofit 501C3 organization with 32 regional shareholders.[16]


  1. ^ a b Space & Support for Start-Up and Established Companies. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  2. ^ [1] Archived October 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "University City Science Center's impact $9B, study says". 2009-09-14. 
  4. ^ [2] Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^
  6. ^ [3] Archived October 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ (2012-05-21). Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  8. ^ America COMPETES | Department of Commerce. (2011-12-09). Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  9. ^ a b The Daily Pennsylvanian :: Tech incubator opens to fanfare. (2000-10-20). Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  10. ^ University City Science Center Port Business Incubator Receives International Incubator Designation. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  11. ^ University City Science Center counts its hatchlings
  12. ^ Life-Sci Shops, Local Economy Boosted by Philly’s University City Science Center | BioRegion News. GenomeWeb. Retrieved on 2014-06-16.
  13. ^ Russ, Valerie (2010-05-02). "Science center cites economy in bid to keep its land from city". Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia Media Holdings, LLC. Archived from the original on 2010-05-03. Retrieved 2010-06-03. The science center, based at 37th and Market streets, has filed a lawsuit to block the RDA from seizing control of two undeveloped parcels on the center's West Philadelphia campus. 
  14. ^ "Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, Science Center end dispute". 
  15. ^ "Science Center to construct building near Penn". 
  16. ^ University City Science Center’s impact $9B, study says

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°57′24″N 75°11′49″W / 39.956775°N 75.196945°W / 39.956775; -75.196945