UKSPA Directory 2017 2017-18 - Page 11

UKSPA Directory 2017 011 Chief Executive’s letter Supporting future science A foreword by Paul Wright: The CEO of UKSPA considers how the Science Park movement will support future industry strategy M y time as CEO of UKSPA gives me 16 years of experience to look back and recognise the evolution of UK science and technology parks and the position in which we find ourselves now. Seven out of ten pillars in Theresa May’s industrial strategy directly relate to the work of the Science Park movement, but the strategy overall remains focused on large corporates, big companies, and big turnover. It fails to mention entrepreneurialism, SMEs, or incubation in many places. It mentions science and technology, and recognises innovation, but the value of the Science Parks sector, in being a vehicle to deliver strategy, simply isn’t acknowledged. The current industry strategy, as it stands, neglects the importance of these places, where people and companies find the time, resources, and support to be able to collaborate on advancements in science and technology, critical to the future economcy of our country. THE IMPORTANCE OF PL ACE Place is increasingly important moving forward. Science Parks and other innovation locations such as incubators and innovation centres are currently the only place where government, large corporates carrying out innovation, incubation and acceleration, and entrepreneurs come together. So, the future of those large, expanded areas of innovation being envisioned, tech cities and smart cities, will rely on the Science Park as a vital part of the overall innovation ecosystem. The investment, assets and services are already in place to support collaborative innovation. On Science Parks, we already host the soft and hard infrastructure and, as such, are a crucial part of the mechanisms that the government should readliy engage with in future. THE POWER OF THE NE T WORK The power behind Science Parks is our power of the network. Looking forward, we must ensure that science parks are recognised by government as i n v estme n t, assets a n d se r v i ces a r e a l r ea d y i n p l ace to suppo r t co l l a b o r at i v e i n n o vat i o n established places to collaborate, network and talk. Private sector investment is important but brings with it the necessity for a return on investment, which, as parks mature,