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Research park

A university research park is a community of innovation that is often linked with a major research university. These communities are based upon the concept that through interaction between a university, local business and government, positive technology-based economic development will occur. University research parks exist to create linkages between the university, industry and the community.

According to the Battelle Technology Partnership's recent study of North American university research parks, university research parks are focused on advancing innovation in regions across North America.<1>

1) The focus on innovation starts with the goals and objectives of nearly all university research parks, with the top rated priority being “The creation of an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship”. 2) Innovation services are offered by nearly all university research parks responding to the survey, providing either university-industry collaboration services or access to commercialization services, and many providing multiple types of innovation services. 3) Innovation activities result in measurable economic development successes, particularly through the incubation of emerging technology companies. 4) The focus on innovation is viewed as critical to the success of university research parks.

Six key attributes for success relating to innovation were rated by university park directors as being of High or Very High importance to the success of a park. These six key attributes were: a) Good match between the core competency of the affiliated university and the recruited tenants b) Capacity to assist early-stage business organizations in commercialization c) Access to equity capital sources for research park tenants d) Priority availability of multi-tenant space for incubator graduates e) Priority access to university resources, facilities, faculty and students f) Availability of a formal business incubator in the research park boundaries University research parks are becoming even more integrated into regional innovation efforts and are often signature developments for creating the dynamic live-work-play environments that attract high- skilled, technology professionals to a region.

The seeds of these live-work-play developments are found in many of the new university research parks brought on line over the last decade, such as Centennial Campus (affiliated with North Carolina State University), Mission Bay (affiliated with the University of California San Francisco) and the Fitzsimmons Life Science District in Colorado (affiliated with the University of Colorado’s academic medical center).

The first research park was started at Stanford University, and was followed shortly thereafter with the development of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Combining the knowledge assets of a community with local business expertise in order to create high-paying jobs is the raison d'etre of research parks. Today there are major research parks in many countries.

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