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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium Research, Science, and Technology Parks: An Overview of the Academic Literature Albert N. Link Department of Economics University of North Carolina at Greensboro I. INTRODUCTION Research, science, and technology parks are: … seen increasingly around the world as a means to create dynamic clusters that accelerate economic growth and international competitiveness (Introduction to the report, p. 2) As such, it is important to understand the academic literature related to research, science, and technology parks (hereafter R-S-T parks, or simply parks) because that literature, albeit embryonic, has had and will continue to frame public policies related to park formations and growth. The purpose of this background paper is thus to overview the extant academic literature and to anticipate public policy issues that have not yet been debated.1 The remainder of this paper is outlined as follows. In Section II, dimensions of a definition of a park are set forth. In Section III, alternative theories on R-S-T park formations are overviewed. Section IV summarizes the extant empirical literature and places it in the context of a model of innovation. The paper concludes with policy considerations in Section V. II. DEFINITIONS The term research park is more prevalent in the United States, the term science park is more prevalent in Europe, and the term technology park is more 1 This paper draws on Link and Scott (2007).
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium prevalent in Asia. Many definitions of a park have been proffered, mostly by professional organizations (e.g., AURP 1998, IASP 2000, UKSPA 2003, and UNESCO 2004) and by parks themselves as a way to define their activities. Common among these definitions is that a park is a type of public-private partnership that fosters knowledge flows—often between park firms and universities and among park firms—and contributes to regional economic growth and development.2 Link and Scott (2006), based on an overview of alternative definitions of university research parks, and most parks in the United States are affiliated with a university, propose the following definition: A university research park is a cluster of technology-based organizations that locate on or near a university campus in order to benefit from the university’s knowledge base and ongoing research. The university not only transfers knowledge but expects to develop knowledge more effectively given the association with the tenants in the research park. A public-private partnership, with reference to a park, is an infrastructure that leverages, formally or informally, the efficiency of innovation that takes place within park firms and within universities, when present. “Public” refers to any aspect of the innovation process that involves the use of governmental resources, be they federal or national, state, or local in origin. “Private” refers to any aspect of the innovation process that involves the use of private-sector resources, mostly firm-specific resources. And, resources are broadly defined to include all resources—financial resources, infrastructural resources, research resources, and the like—that affect the general environments in which innovation occurs. Finally, the term “partnership” refers to any and all innovation-related relationships, including but not limited to formal and informal collaborations in R&D. In the case of parks in the United States, government involvement tends to be indirect with economic objectives of leveraging public-sector R&D (including university R&D) and private-sector R&D. In many Asian countries, for example, government involvement is direct rather than indirect.3 III. THEORIES ON R-S-T PARK FORMATIONS Surprisingly, the extant literature in economics, geography, management, and public policy does not offer a fully developed theory about the formation of parks. Case studies have documented the institutional history of a number of research parks, university affiliated or not. Castells and Hall (1994) describe 2 These definitional characteristics are emphasized by President Mote of the University of Maryland and President Barker of Clemson University in this report. 3 Direct government involvement in park activity is illustrated through the many summaries of activities in Asian parks in this report.
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium the Silicone Valley (California) and Route 128 (around Boston, Massachusetts) phenomenon; Luger and Goldstein (1991), Link (1995, 2002), and Link and Scott (2003a) detail the history of Research Triangle Park (North Carolina); Gibb (1985), Grayson (1993), Guy (1996a, 1996b), and Vedovello (1997) summarize aspects of the science park phenomenon in the United Kingdom; Gibb (1985) also chronicles the science/technology park phenomenon in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and selected Asian countries; and Chordà (1996) reports on French science parks, Phillimore (1999) on Australian science parks, Bakouros et al. (2002) and Sofouli and Vonortas (2007) on the development of science parks in Greece, and Vaidyanathan (2008) on technology parks in India. Scholars have not yet formally tied the emergence of parks to cluster theory, although cluster theory has been applied to the formation of biotechnology and other science-based agglomerations of firms near universities so the potential application is not unreasonable. Drawing on cluster theory—and location theory was, in part, a prequel to the popularization of cluster theory, as reviewed by Goldstein and Luger (1992) and Westhead and Batstone (1998)—one could argue that there are both demand and supply forces at work that result in the clustering of research firms near universities (Baptista, 1998). On the demand side, there are sophisticated users of developed technologies within a park, and the search costs for such users are minimized by locating on a park. Of course, there are disadvantages associated with being in a park, mainly greater competition for the developed technologies. On the supply side, there is skilled and specialized labor available from the university or universities involved in the park in the form of graduate students and consulting faculty, although there is also more competition for that pool of human capital. Also, for a firm, location on a park, especially a university park, provides a greater opportunity for the acquisition of new knowledge—tacit knowledge in particular. As well, for the university, having juxtaposed firms provides a localized opportunity for licensing university-based innovations. The theory of agglomeration economics emphasizes knowledge spillovers and enhanced benefits and lowered costs caused by the presence of multiple organizations and the externalities they create (Swann, 1998). And, Audretsch (1998); Audretsch and Feldman (1996, 1999); Breschi and Lissoin (2001); Jaffe (1989); Jaffe, Trajtenberg, and Henderson (1993); and Rothaermel and Thursby (2005a, 2005b) provide empirical support for the agglomeration effect. Henderson (1986) and Krugman (1991) emphasize conceptually as well as empirically the importance of location per se with regard to knowledge spillovers. Localization has an effect on resource prices. To the extent that new technology embodies new knowledge, geographic closeness implies lower new technology prices and thus presumably greater usage. Firms achieve economies of scale more easily with newer technologies. Arthur (1989) underscores the related importance of network externalities with regard to such scale economies. David (1985) also argues in general—and his argument could apply particularly well to university
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium parks—that chance or historical events can lock a technology on a particular path of development. If that technology had a university origin, then creating such a park, from the university’s perspective, and locating in the park, from a firm’s perspective, gives positive feedback to continue the path dependency of the particular technology. The idea of path dependency, according to Arrow (2000), has its origins in the early writings of economists Veblen and Cournot, but it also can be traced to the Nelson and Winter (1982) concepts about evolutionary economics. Relatedly, Leyden, Link, and Siegel (2008) outline a theoretical model, based on the theory of clubs, to describe the conditions under which a firm would be located in an existing university park. The authors conjecture that a university research park acts like a private organization, so that membership in the research park is the result of mutual agreement between the existing park tenants including the university, the club, and a potential new member firm. The decision to admit the new firm depends on the marginal effect of that firm on the wellbeing of the firms already in the park. For the representative in-park firm, the value of belonging to the park is the opportunity to engage in synergistic activities, which can be used to increase its profits in the output markets in which it participates, net of the direct cost (e.g., maintenance cost of being in the park and maintaining infrastructure) and indirect cost (e.g., congestion and competition for new knowledge) of being in the park. IV. EMPIRICAL STUDIES OF R-S-T PARKS The empirical literature related to parks is embryonic. Table 1 summarizes findings from the extant literature in four dimensions: Factors affecting firm decisions to locate on a park. Formation of university parks and university performance. Firm performance on a park. Parks and regional economic growth development. It is clear from the literature review in Table 1 that R-S-T parks, especially university research parks, matter in several dimensions related to innovative activity and to economic growth and development. To place the importance of these empirical findings in a broader perspective, consider the model of economic development in Figure 1. At the root of the model is the science base, referring to the accumulation of scientific and technological knowledge. The science base resides in the public domain. Investment in the science base comes through basic research, primarily funded by the government and primarily performed globally in universities and federal laboratories. For an integrated technology-based manufacturing firm—and the model is similar for a service sector firm (Gallaher, Link, and Petrusa 2006) except that
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium technology is generally purchased rather than induced through own R&D— technology development in the form of basic and applied research generally begins within its laboratory. There, R&D involves the application of scientific knowledge toward the proof of concept of a new technology. Such fundamental research, if successful, yields a prototype or generic technology. If the prototype technology has potential commercial value, follow-on applied research takes place followed by development. If successful, a proprietary technology will result. Basic research, applied research, and development occur within the firm as a result of its strategic planning and guide the firm’s market-oriented entrepreneurial activities. Generally, strategic planning involves the formulation of road maps for developing new emerging technologies. A manufacturing firm targets discrete technology jumps, creating new technologies that make its competition obsolete; its strategic plans are long term and not closely linked to current competitive planning. Entrepreneurial activity then drives the firm toward the production of the new product or process. With entrepreneurial activity, a causal element in this model, the overall innovation process exhibits hysteresis because of the lagging impact of such entreperneurship. Thus, the relationship between investment in proprietary technology and market development might not be as predictable as the firm’s strategic planners would like. Infratechnologies (i.e., infrastructural technologies) emanate from the science base and from various technology infrastructures such as national laboratories. These technologies, such as test methods or measurement standards, reduce the market risk associated with the introduction of a new product or process. Once a new product has been designed and tested, technical risk could be low, but market risk could be significant until the product is accepted and adhibited and integrated into existing systems (e.g., in a service sector firm). The nonlinearity of this system is, literally, in the fact that there are multiple influences on both innovation and technology development, thus underscoring the existence of a need for broad-based and multitargeted public sector innovation and technology policy actions, not all of which are necessarily entrepreneurial. The impact of R-S-T parks within this model is on the science base and on proprietary technology. Parks, university parks in particular, enrich the science base because they leverage the university’s R&D. Parks also leverage firm’s R&D, especially in comparison to off-park firms. V. POLICY CONCLUSIONS The elements of a national innovation system include competitive firms and a competitive environment, an effective educational system, strong university research, a legal system with property rights, and a capital market that includes venture capital (Nelson 1993, Cohen 2002). R-S-T parks have a unique place within a national innovation system. Although the literature related to parks is still embryonic, the evidence
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium TABLE 1 Empirical Studies of Research, Science, and Technology Parks Research Issue Author(s) Dimensions of Study Findings Factors affecting firm decisions to locate on a park Westhead and Batstone (1998) Comparison of UK on-park and off-park firms. Location on a park is driven by the firm’s desire to acquire research facilities and scientists at the university—all UK parks are located on or near a university. Goldstein and Luger (1992) Comparison of university-based and nonuniversity-based parks in the United States. Key criterion for location on a park is the linkage between the firm and the university (or, if generalizable to other countries, the higher education institution). Hansson, Husted, and Vestergaard (2005) Case studies of UK and Denmark parks. Firms locate in the park because of a need for social capital to facilitate entrepreneurial growth. Leyden, Link, and Siegel (2008) U.S. public firms that have and do not have a research facility on a university park. Parks invite firms to join a park based on their potential spillover benefits (i.e., knowledge spillover benefits) to existing park firms. Formation of university parks and university performance Link and Scott (2003b) Growth of U.S. university parks over time. Growth of park formations follows a Gompertz survival-time model; formal park-university relationships lead to increased university publication and patenting activity, greater extramural funding success, and enhanced ability to hire preeminent scholars. Firm performanceon a park Westhead (1995), Westhead and Co wling (1995), Westhead and Storey (1994, 1997), and Westhead, Storey, and Cowling (1995) Matched pair comparison of on-park and off-park UK firm performance. Survival rate of on-park firms greater than of off-park firms.
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium Siegel, Westhead, and Wright (2003) Matched pair comparison of on-park and off-park UK firm performance. Research productivity of on-park firms greater than of off-park firms. Lindelöf and Löfsten (2003, 2004) Matched pair comparison of on-park and off-park On-park firms place greater emphasis on in no Swedish firms. vative ability, sales and employment growth, market orientation, and profitability than off-park firms. Ferguson and Olofsson (2004) Matched pair comparison of on-park and off-park Swedish firms. No performance differences between on-park and off-park firms. Fukugawa (2006) Matched pair comparision of on-park and off-park Japanese firms. Research linkages more likely formed with universities if on a park than off of a park. Parks and regional economic growth and development Goldstein and Luger (1992) Descriptive analysis of U.S. park directors. Parks leverage new business startups. Shearmur and Doloreux (2000) Descriptive analysis of Canadian park directors. Parks leverage new business startups and overall employment growth.
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium FIGURE 1 Model of innovation: A manufacturing firm. suggests that parks enhance the two-way flow of knowledge between firms and between firms and universities, when a university is present. Thus, parks enhance innovation and subsequently competitiveness as was suggested in Figure 1. Many nations’ sectors have to varying degrees informally encouraged the formation of industry/university linkages. France’s central government, like that of Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, has actively fostered the creation of science parks (Westhead 1997, Hilpert and Ruffieux 1991, Goldstein and Luger 1990), and Germany has long promoted academic innovation centres to incubate and develop small- and medium-sized enterprises (Sternberg 1990). In the United States, public investment at state universities is used to underwrite the formation and development of R-S-T parks. In 2004, through Senator Bingaman’s introduction of S. 2737, “The Science Park Administration Act of 2004,” and again in 2007 through Senator Pryor’s introduction of S. 1373, “The Building a Stronger America Act,” the U.S. Congress considered, but did not pass, a bill to provide grants and loans to states and local authorities for the development and construction of university parks. Implicit in these bills is the assumption that R-S-T parks are an important element in the U.S. national innovation system, and as such should be fostered because of both the knowledge-based and employment-based spillovers that will result. This U.S. action may the most obvious example of public-sector support for R-S-T parks. Hand-in-hand with public-sector support is the need for public accountability, namely the development and implementation of evaluation
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium methods and tools not only to support the assumption that R-S-T parks are in fact an important element of the national innovation system but also to quantify the net spillover benefits that result from public-sector support.4 The matched pairs studies discussed above in Table 1 are a preliminary form of evaluation. That is, it is useful to know that there is evidence that firms located on a park are more productive than firms not on a research park, ceteris paribus. However, when substantial public-sector resources are devoted to park formations, a more in-depth evaluation approach is warranted, namely the application of what Link and Scott (2001) call the spillover evaluation method. The spillover evaluation method applies to publicly funded, privately performed research projects, and research projects are defined in terms of the research activities that occur in the park rather than simply the construction of the park.5 There are important projects where economic performance can be improved with public R&D funding of privately performed research. Public R&D funding is needed when socially valuable projects (i.e., when the marginal benefits of the project are greater than the marginal costs) would not be undertaken without it.6 If their expected rate of return from creating an R-S-T park environment falls short of their required rate, called the hurdle rate, then the university or local firms would not invest in the research park environment. Nonetheless, if the benefits of the research spill over to consumers and to firms other than the ones investing in the research, the social rate of return may exceed the appropriate hurdle rate, even though the private rate of return falls short of the private hurdle rate. It would then be socially valuable to have the investments made, but since the university or local firms will not make them without public support, the public sector should support the investments. By providing public funding, thereby reducing the investment needed from the university and local firms doing the research, the expected private rate of return can be increased above the hurdle rate. In this case, the public-sector’s support may also suggest, or affirm, the possibility of a market for a successful project, thus reducing the investors’ perceived risk as well as increasing the initial investment they are willing to make. Thus, because 4 See presentation by Albert Link in this report. 5 If one defined narrowly the output of the use of public-sector resources as the park itself, then, following Link and Scott (1998), the counterfactual evaluation method would be appropriate. When publicly funded, publicly performed research investments are evaluated, and the public is building the park, one should ask: What would the private sector have had to invest to achieve the benefits associated with the park in the absence of the public sector’s investments? The answer to this question gives the benefits of the public’s investments, namely, the costs avoided by the private sector. 6 There is a rich history of economic and policy research to support this view. Notable are the arguments of Arrow (1962), Tassey (1997), Jaffe (1998), and Link and Scott (1998). Public funding of privately performed research is termed “public provision” while research conducted at wholly public facilities is “public production.” Vincent Ostrom, Charles Tiebout, and Robert Warren distinguish between the production and provision of public goods. See V. Ostrom, C. M. Tiebout, R Warren, “The Organization of Government in Metropolitan Areas: A Theoretical Inqury,” American Political Science Review 55, 1961.
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium of the public subsidy, the university, when present, and local firms are willing to perform the research that is socially desirable because much of its output spills over to other firms in the park and sectors in the local and national economy. The question asked in the spillover evaluation method is one that facilitates an economic understanding of the potential returns to public-sector support for a portion of private-sector research, namely: What proportion of the total profit stream generated by the university’s and local firms’ research and innovation does the university and local firms expect to capture; and hence, what proportion is not appropriated but is instead captured by others that use knowledge generated by park research to produce competing products for the social good?7 As this overview shows, a case can be made that R-S-T parks are an element of a national innovation system, not necessarily a primary element but an important element none the less. Successful two-way knowledge flow between universities and industry is indeed a key ingredient for a national innovation system, and we do have evidence that R-S-T parks play a role in that knowledge flow. However, parks are not a sine qua non of the knowledge flow. Perhaps, consistent with the findings of the survey of university provosts reported in Link and Scott (2003b), R-S-T parks fall under the broader category of an effective educational system. However, R-S-T parks may in the future warrant a higher status, especially as technological life cycles continue to shorten and as basic research at universities (and to a growing extent at national laboratories [National Research Council, 1999, 2001]) and applied research/development in industry become more intertwined. REFERENCES Arrow, K. J. 1962. “Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention.” In The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Arrow K. J. 2000. “Increasing Returns: Historiographic Issues and Path Dependence.” European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 7(2):171-180. Arthur, W. 1989. “Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-in by Historical Small Events.” Economic Journal 99(2):116-131. Association of University Research Parks (AURP). 1998. “Worldwide Research & Science Park Directory 1998.” New York: BPI Communications. Audretsch, D. B. 1998. “Agglomeration and the Location of Innovative Activity.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 14(2):18-29. 7 The part of the stream of expected profits captured by the innovator is its private return, while the entire stream is the lower bound on the social rate of return (because of the additional benefits of consumer surplus and assuming any cannibalization of existing surplus is relatively small). The spillovers evaluation weighs the private return (in practice—see Link and Scott —estimated through extensive interviews with the private-sector organizations receiving public support regarding their expectations of future patterns of events and future abilities to appropriate returns from R&D-based knowledge) against private investments. The social rate of return weighs the social returns against the social investments.
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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium Audretsch, D. B., and M. P. Feldman. 1996. “R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production.” American Economic Review 86(3):630-640. Audretsch, D. B., and M. P. Feldman. 1999. “Innovation in Cities: Science-based Diversity, Specialization, and Localized Competition.” European Economic Review 43(2):409-429. Bakouros, Y. L., D. C. Mardas, and N. C. Varsakelis. 2002. “Science Parks, a High-Tech Fantasy? An Analysis of the Science Parks of Greece.” Technovation 22(2):123-128. Baptista, R. 1998. “Clusters, Innovation, and Growth: A Survey of the Literature.” In G. M. P. Swann, M. Prevezer, and D. Stout, eds. The Dynamics of Industrial Clustering. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Breschi, S. and F. Lissoin. 2001. “Knowledge Spillovers and Local Innovation Systems: A Critical Survey.” Industrial and Corporate Change 10(4):975-1005. Castells, M., and P. Hall. 1994. Technopoles of the World. London, UK: Oxford University Press. Chordà, I. M. 1996. “Towards the Maturity State: An Insight into the Performance of French Technopoles.” Technovation 16(3):143-152. Cohen, W. 2002. “Thoughts and Questions on Science Parks.” Presented at the National Science Foundation Science Parks Indicators Workshop. University of North Carolina at Greensboro. David, P. A. 1985. “Clio and the Economics of QWERTY.” American Economic Review 75(2):332-337. Ferguson, R. and C. Olofsson. 2004. “Science Parks and the Development of NTBFs: Location, Survival and Growth.” Journal of Technology Transfer 29(1):5-17. Fukugawa, N. 2006. “Science Parks in Japan and Their Value-Added Contributions to New Technology-based Firms.” International Journal of Industrial Organization 24(2):381-400. Gallaher, M. P., A. N. Link, and J. E. Petrusa. 2006. Innovation in the U.S. Service Sector. London, UK: Routledge. Gibb, M. J. 1985. Science Parks and Innovation Centres: Their Economic and Social Impact. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier. Goldstein, H. A., and M. I. Luger. 1990. “Science/Technology Parks and Regional Development Theory.” Economic Development Quarterly 4(1):64-78. Goldstein, H. A., and M. I. Luger. 1992. “University-based Research Parks as a Rural Development Strategy.” Policy Studies Journal 20(2):249-263. Grayson, L. 1993. Science Parks: An Experiment in High-Technology Transfer. London, UK: The British Library Board. Guy, I. 1996a. “A Look at Aston Science Park.” Technovation 16(5):217-218. Guy, I. 1996b. “New Ventures on an Ancient Campus.” Technovation 16(6):269-270. Hackett, S. M., and D. M. Dilts. 2004. “A Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research.” Journal of Technology Transfer 29(1):55-82. Hall, B. H., A. N. Link, and J. T. Scott. 2001. “Barriers Inhibiting Industry from Partnering with Universities: Evidence from the Advanced Technology Program.” Journal of Technology Transfer. 26(1-2):87-98. Hall, B. H., A. N. Link, and J. T. Scott. 2003. “Universities as Research Partners.” Review of Economics and Statistics 85(2):485-491. Hansson, F., K. Husted, and J. Vestergaard. 2005. “Second Generation Science Parks: From Structural Holes Jockeys to Social Capital Catalysts of the Knowledge Society.” Technovation 25(9):1039-1049. Henderson, J. V. 1986. “The Efficiency of Resource Usage and City Size.” Journal of Urban Economics 19(1):47-70. Hilpert, U., and B. Ruffieux. 1991. “Innovation, Politics and Regional Development: Technology Parks and Regional Participation in High-Technology in France and West Germany.” In U. Hilpert, ed. Regional Innovation and Decentralization: High-Technology Industry and Government Policy. London, UK: Routledge.
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