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154INNOVATION UKINNOVATION and also regard the presence of an incubator service as a way to attract new companies to the area. At the same time, it has become clear that successful incubator ten-ants require grow- on space. So what was once a clash of " property" versus " process" is now emerging as a new era of property- process- economic development- partnership. Partnership Development In the 1990s, partnerships between universities, the private sector and the public sector were rare and, where they existed, they were not necessarily effective. Today, many science parks are made up of partners from all three key sectors, all bringing their skills and agendas to the table. Analysis of the formative years of partnership working in the sector revealed that there was a need for improved communications between partners by recognising the occurrence of miscommunication resulting from the dif-fering cultures and expectations of the three sectors. Many of UKSPA's Business Affiliates involved in science park developments start with partnership development work, which in their view is critical. Facts and Figures » Estimated annual turnover of tenants: £ 5.5bn » Floor space: 1.88 million sq m » Number of employees: 73,000 » Number of tenant companies: 3,300 » Number of locations under development: 8 » Number of locations supporting tenants: 71 Suporting Comercialisation - Science Parks and Incubators 1. Commercialisation of IP 1980s 2. Science Park properties 1980s 3. Economic development issues 1990s 4. Incubation 2000s 5. Partnership 2000s 6. Models of success 2007 Given the right property, partnership and process, how should the product be managed to best effect? It was during the first half of the " noughties" that the results of many different and disparate analyses started to reveal some of the critical success factors. This is the beginning of a new stage in the science park evolution and UKSPA's role is to support its members who are operating in this arena and are beginning to ben-efit from these new insights and developments. Recently, there has been much comment and debate regarding " third generation" science parks. " Third Generation" ( 3G) science parks are recognised as an integral part of the infrastructure that supports the growth of regional research intensive clusters ( RICs). The extent of the impact of science parks on their regional knowledge economy is governed by factors outside their control, such as the calibre of research in their local university, the attractiveness of their city or region to Below: Chesterfield Centres of Excellence UK Science & Innovation Parks: UK Science Parks Association

UKINNOVATION UK155 the most talented people, the availability of risk capital throughout the lifecycle of technology- based businesses and the efficiency of local networks connecting players in the triple helix of business, academia and public sector. In short, building a science park in a region won't neces-sarily guarantee the emergence of a RIC, but it's quite difficult to identify one that doesn't have a successful science park. The most obvious contribution of science parks to the innovation system is physical - they provide a variety of often specialised accommodation on flexible terms. Cer-tainly in the initial stages of cluster development, private developers won't take the risk of building speculative laboratories or data centres for an unproven market. Even in more mature markets, there need to be innovative public/ private sector partnerships to fund the provision of innovative facilities to small companies with limited cash and a short trading history. In some cases, shared technical resources can be pro-vided to all tenants by science parks. Examples of this include expensive software development platform tech-nology, clean rooms or sophisticated testing equipment. At the opposite end of the scale, the UK government is supporting the development of science parks around Daresbury and Harwell, recognising that major national science facilities should be accessible to high- tech firms - start- ups can't afford their own synchrotron. A less tangible but equally important contribution by the science park is often one of image and brand. The global competition between regions for talented people and innovative firms is fierce, and a successful science park bestows an added advantage to a region that is trying to develop its knowledge economy through foreign direct investment. The image of a science park can also act as an attrac-tor to talented individuals whose concerns are not just the first job offer but subsequent ones for them and their partners. A third area where 3G science parks play a role in the innovation system is in acting as a focus and stimulus for the multiplicity of networks that are integral to their suc-cess. Sometimes described as " optimising serendipity", science park management involves creating opportunities for interaction between the key players - entrepreneurs, academics and investors. This may be achieved through social or professional events organised by and held on the park premises but it is also a guiding principle in building design - using space to encourage innovation. So, today's science parks and technology- based incuba-tors are critical ingredients for a successful " knowledge-based economy". They provide: » A focus for entrepreneurial talent » Support for high- tech businesses » A link between businesses and universities » Specialist offices and laboratories » Flexible tenancy agreements » Bespoke business support at all stages of company development. As to the future of science parks, well, nothing is certain. The economy has begun to slip into a suspected recession where capital is increasingly difficult to access as finan-cial institutions attempt to recover from poor lending decisions in the property sector. We have no real feel for the extent or nature of this eco-nomic downturn, but one thing is clear - investors of any nature will be looking very carefully at their returns from their investment in technology- based firms. Today, there is no better place to locate a firm wishing to undertake research or develop a new technology, and UKSPA members are seen to be providing the safest envi-ronment in the country for this type of firm. For more information, contact Paul Wright: E- mail: paul. wright@ ukspa. org. uk Website: www. ukspa. org. uk Above: Edinburgh Centres of Excellence UK Science & Innovation Parks: uk science parks asociation