Science and technology parks: a growing role in a changing global innovation ecosystem

IASP 29th World Conference TallinnScience and technology parks are increasingly an important part of the new global technology revolution, aiming to bring together creative entrepreneurial ideas together with the constituents necessary for commercial impact. Next month, IASP Annual World Conference on Science and Technology Parks (STPs) comes together for its 29th conference in Tallinn, Estonia, between 17-20 June, with three days of debate and discussion on how science parks can serve companies and the innovation community. With 400 delegates from 52 countries already signed up, the conference will look at the evolution of STPs as bridging institutions between universities and other R&D bodies, business entities and services, governmental offices, and the wider public community. We are pleased to announce that as a strategic media partner for the event, The Next Silicon Valley’s Editor Richard Wallace will also present a paper entitled, ‘Becoming Silicon Valley’.  The growing role of the STP in the global innovation ecosystem is largely a result of the shift in how novel ideas and discoveries establish market relevance and commercial significance. The latter is particularly well highlighted by Adam Marsh, Associate Profesor at the University of Delaware, in a recent post in The Huffington Post. In the article, Professor Marsh says that for tech startups, access to expert resources is increasingly more available and there is greater potential for interaction and collaboration within a community (both real and virtual, local and global) given our tech connectivity. When considered in total, the co-existence of diverse talents and expertise that are accessible to entrepreneurs forms an innovation ecosystem where new technological discoveries can be rapidly vetted locally for commercial potential and then deployed on larger scales as a viable business. He adds, “Bringing such resources together into one community can lead to the emergent organization of a larger and more efficient innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem from a synergy of individual talents. This kind of ecosystem can greatly facilitate the development of ideas from innovators with little or no prior entrepreneurial experience (i.e., academic faculty) and thus recruit more of the limiting currency needed in today’s tech markets: creative expertise.” While Professor Marsh makes a point about the changing nature of innovation itself, a key message from the STPs’ point of view is the bringing together of an environment or ecosystem where innovators can better create successful ventures with all the necessary ingredients available in one place. Starting from their roots decades ago, science and technology parks have grown into globally recognized tools for effective offering of various innovation support services to their main clients – knowledge-based companies. In 2002, IASP (International Association of Science Parks) formulated a definition of STPs that encompasses the main common denominators and features that these projects share throughout the world:  “A science park is an organisation managed by specialised professionals, whose main aim is to increase the wealth of its community by promoting the culture of innovation and the competitiveness of its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions.” “To enable these goals to be met, a science park stimulates and manages the flow of knowledge and technology amongst universities, R&D institutions, companies and markets; it also facilitates the creation and growth of innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off processes; and it provides other value-added services together with high quality space and facilities.” Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol is the host of IASP 29th Annual World Conference in 2012. Tehnopol is the largest science and business environment in Estonia for knowledge based companies, with 150 companies plus Tallinn University of Technology and IT College in Tehnopol. The 29th IASP Annual World Conference on Science and Technology Parks in 2012 will bring together experts from STPs, academia, public sector and business to discuss and debate in depth the trends in STPs as increasingly complex structures for professional innovation support. This conference will feature presentations of the future direction of STP services, management and development. The program for the conference will be divided into a number of plenary and parallel sessions or workshops on specific topics. In addition, special plenary meetings – Knowledge Camps – will be held to review and analyse the outcome of the parallel sessions/workshops. For more information and to register for the conference, click here. We look forward to meeting with you in Tallinn in June.

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