Box A

Making Research Parks a Priority

“Many countries have been able to use the mechanism of S&T parks to greatly advance their technological capabilities. We have not given it nearly the emphasis of other countries. I would like to see the government provide more assistance to states to make research parks a priority.”

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Keynote remarks at the 2008 National Academies conference on S&T Research Parks

the National Academies conference that are summarized in this volume, research parks focused on software design in India have supported that nation’s emergence as a global leader in software design and services.3

Yet, while investments by the world’s leading nations in research parks reflects an appreciation of their capacity to spur knowledge-based growth and enhance technological competitiveness through innovation, this potential of research parks appears to be less well understood by policymakers and the public in the United States.

To better understand the role that research parks can play as sources of innovation, regional growth, and national competitiveness for the United States and to document recent developments in the growth of research parks around the world, the National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) partnered with the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) to bring together leading figures from governments, universities, and research parks from the United States and around the world.4


In the early 1990s, the Indian government established a network of national software technology parks that provided broadband connectivity based on satellite and fiber technology, single-window clearance system to software exporters, and incubation services. These research parks have helped India generate a substantial return on national investments on research and training in science and engineering. Today, the software industry is dominated by globally competitive champions from India, including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, and Wipro Technologies, each of which has generated revenues in excess of US$1 billion a year in recent times. See Tilman Altenburg, Hubert Schmitz, and Andreas Stamm, “Breakthrough: China’s and India’s Transition from Production to Innovation,” World Development 36(2):325-344, February 2008. Senator Bingaman’s keynote address is summarized in the Proceedings section of this report.


The conference, which was organized in cooperation with AURP, took place on March 13, 2008, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, AURP is an association of planned and operating research parks around the world. Its mission is “to promote the development and operations of research parks that foster innovation, commercialization and economic competitiveness in a global economy through collaboration among universities, industry and government.”

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