Closing Remarks

Mary Good

University of Arkansas at Little Rock; and Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy


Dr. Good began by recalling how different this conversation might have been 10 years ago, when S&T parks were focusing more on domestic competition. “Today,” she said, “we have heard from a wide variety of places and circumstances. We now understand that what is going on outside our borders is also important and that we need to understand it. We are making progress. It’s slow, but little by little we are learning.”

COMMON THEMES: ATTRACT AND TRAIN HIGH-QUALITY PEOPLE

She said that much of what was said during the day is particular to individual parks, but that she heard at least two common themes. One is that successful parks must begin with sustained leadership backed by high-quality personnel. The second is that successful parks create new high-quality jobs for the future. “Whether we want to look at the goals of parks in those terms,” she said, “that’s what the people here today were talking about. If you have not recruited the right people, and increased their number for the future, the research park is likely to be a failure, no matter where the parks are or what the external issues are.”

AN UNDERCURRENT OF URGENCY

She said she also detected a change of pace in the planning and development of parks around the world. Time and patience were important, she agreed, “but we have heard an undercurrent of urgency from essentially all of them. Sovereign states have decided for the most part to front-load economic development and to



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Closing Remarks Mary Good Uniersity of Arkansas at Little Rock; and Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy Dr. Good began by recalling how different this conversation might have been 10 years ago, when S&T parks were focusing more on domestic competition. “Today,” she said, “we have heard from a wide variety of places and circum- stances. We now understand that what is going on outside our borders is also important and that we need to understand it. We are making progress. It’s slow, but little by little we are learning.” COMMON THEMES: ATTRACT AND TRAIN HIGH-QUALITY PEOPLE She said that much of what was said during the day is particular to individual parks, but that she heard at least two common themes. One is that successful parks must begin with sustained leadership backed by high-quality personnel. The second is that successful parks create new high-quality jobs for the future. “Whether we want to look at the goals of parks in those terms,” she said, “that’s what the people here today were talking about. If you have not recruited the right people, and increased their number for the future, the research park is likely to be a failure, no matter where the parks are or what the external issues are.” AN UNDERCURRENT OF URGENCY She said she also detected a change of pace in the planning and development of parks around the world. Time and patience were important, she agreed, “but we have heard an undercurrent of urgency from essentially all of them. Sovereign states have decided for the most part to front-load economic development and to 12

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12 UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARKS lean on their state-supported universities, even though state support is not what it used to be. Research parks are clearly a part of economic development today, and if we can look at what we’ve learned here today and disseminate it quickly, we can do some good.” The discussion on assessment is particularly timely and necessary, she said, because “all of you associated with research parks are going to have to figure out what to do with respect to assessment. The materials from this meeting can certainly be a part of that.” PARKS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Dr. Good closed by thanking all participants, and especially the speakers, for being “candid, thoughtful, and insightful.” She praised the content of the meeting for its high quality, and said that “with any luck it will be applicable to all of us and beyond as we grapple with the major issues of economic development, for that is what parks are surely about.” She said that parks can and must flourish beyond the few dominant centers of science and technology expertise. “This is a message you can take home to your governors and state legislatures,” she said. “These issues need to be getting a good hearing in all the states these days, and they’re not. If we don’t succeed in supporting innovation around more of our universities throughout the country, the United States could easily end up with lots of activity on both coasts and a lot of flyover country in between. If that happens, we as a nation are not going to be as visible or viable in the next 50 years as we have been in the past.”