United States Senate
Senator Bingaman (D-New Mexico) described his state’s significant participation in research parks. New Mexico has five science parks which, as of March 2007, employed more than 2,600 people in well-paying, high-technology jobs representing about 105 organizations. The capital investment in these parks amounted to nearly half a billion dollars—a figure, he said, that is expected to grow.
He said that his attention was first drawn to science and technology parks when he visited several well-known parks that had been established in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and India. He was struck by the commitment of the regions to their parks and the economic success generated by businesses in the parks. For example, he attributed Taiwan’s high standing in the global marketplace largely to the success of its Hsinchu Science Park, which was established in 1980. As of 2004, the park held more than 100,000 technically trained people, two major universities, 385 companies, and six national laboratories. It generated gross revenues of more than US$32 billion, according to government figures. Taiwan has more recently built parks in the central and southern parts of the country as well, and gross revenue from all three parks is projected to exceed $66 billion per year.
He said that in Hong Kong, the government has invested nearly half a billion dollars to construct ten buildings in its park, holding more than one million square feet of office and laboratory space. Among the topics emphasized in the park are integrated circuit design, photonics, biotechnology, and information technology. In 2005, he visited Hyderabad and Bangalore in India and witnessed the success of the research parks there, especially those focused on software design. India was then supporting more than 1,000 companies in 44 software parks. At Infosys, perhaps the most successful software development company in India, he asked the CEO to explain the hiring process. During the previous year, the company received 1.2 million applications for jobs. They gave all applicants a standardized test, reducing the number to 300,000, then interviewed 30,000 of them and hired only 10,000. “That,” commented the senator “is a select group of people.”
Science parks now exist in most parts of the world, but with many different structures. Nonetheless, said Senator Bingaman, they do share some important common features. First is a government commitment to provide a first-class infrastructure capable of accommodating different levels of science-based companies. Second, parks try to bring together companies of similar interests so they can mutually reinforce one another along the supply chain. Third, many encourage a system of “one-stop shopping” for companies that need basic services and inven-