Potential source of new jobs: university research parks
The report—titled “Characteristics and Trends in North American Research Parks: 21st Century Directions”—estimates that:
- More than 300,000 people in North America work in a university research park.
- Every job in a research park generates an average of 2.57 jobs in the economy, resulting in a total employment impact of more than 750,000 jobs.
- University research parks in the United States and Canada encompass more than 47,000 acres and include 124 million square feet of space.
- At full build-out, research parks will include 275 million square feet of space.
The estimates from the report are based on a survey of 134 university research parks in the United States and Canada. Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice (TPP) prepared the report, in partnership with the Association of University Research Parks.
“A new model is emerging,” Walter Plosila, vice president, Battelle TPP, told GovPro.com. “What we’re seeing are strategically planned, mixed-use campuses designed to create an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation and promotes the development, transfer and commercialization of technology. Research parks have become a key element of the technology infrastructure supporting the growth of today’s knowledge economy.”
In an interview with GovPro.com, Plosila urged state- and local-government administrators to work “with their university and medical center leaders to take a look at whether they should be doing something in this arena.”
“These administrators also should be talking with regional planners and developers about the feasibility of a research park in the area,” he said.
Plosila added that today’s research parks have evolved from those of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in that “more and more of these parks are built around the research excellence and the facilities and opportunities that the university or medical center offers.”
“For example, if an institution has specialized core labs or applications centers that service particular kinds of industries, that’s important,” Plosila said. “ We are seeing more and more research parks organize around themes or around industry clusters or industry specialties.”
Public purchasers could benefit
According to Plosila, public purchasers could benefit by doing business with vendors in a research park.
“If a government agency could encourage its supplier chain located in a research park to increase the speed with which it introduces new products, that would reduce the cost of procurement and increase the quality and availability of new products,” he said.
Research parks traditionally were established to recruit R&D and technology companies to locate near a university in order to build a cluster of high-tech companies. Today, research parks increasingly spur homegrown business startups, retention and expansion with a focus on providing commercialization and business development support in addition to space for talent retention.
For a copy of the report, click here.