Science parks: practical and successful cases
by Woodrow W. Clark Jr.
International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation (IJTTC), Vol. 2, No. 2, 2003

Abstract: The Stanford University experience in California, which became the foundation for the Silicon Valley, was not rooted in any particular economic theory. Indeed, the originators of these and related concepts of economic development for the entire northern California region were engineers, not economists, urban planners or politicians. But that was in the 1950s. From these practical experiences, economic theory developed (see ''Science Parks theory and background''). What the founders of science parks foresaw, however, was the need to link basic and theoretical research to the real world that is, the world of commerce, trade and business. This link was good for R&D and was equally good for the placement of students directly into industry. And in many cases, the students formed their own firms and hence become ''self-employed''. Today, science parks are seen as a solution to the complex problems of economic development, under-employment, job creation, corporate downsizing, and new business development. Thus, science parks receive considerable attention and financial support from local, regional and national governments. Over the decades, research, technology, industrial and science parks were established close to universities in various US cities as well as in other industrialised nations. For the most part, theory followed or mimicked practice. As a report from Twente University in Holland put it, ''The knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship flourishing in the Twente region did not develop as the result of a master plan. Nobody ever sat down and plotted out how it would all come together. The Twente Concept is the result of an organic development process - not a ''revolution'', but an ''evolution'' - that retained everything that was good and discarded what was wrong''. It is precisely this issue of economic development that will be explored in this paper. The hypothesis is made that we now know enough about economic and business development to formulate a theoretical perspective on science parks. With that understanding, we can, therefore, explore and formulate strategies, plans and policies on how research and development can be converted into new businesses, support and assist entrepreneurship, provide programs that connect regional economic development while being concerned for the environment, and expand networks into international collaborations. This paper explores all the commercialisation of new technologies and provides some guidance into the further practical levels of business creation and therefore economic development for regions and communities.

Online publication date: Sun, 13-Jul-2003

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