UKSPA Directory 2017 2017-18 - Page 13

UKSPA Directory 2017 013 A n enormous amount has been achieved by our UK science and technology parks and innovation sites to date. The UK is currently host to around 123 parks supporting over 6,000 companies, and 205 incubators and 163 accelerators and around £33 million of investment supporting 3,450 and 3,660 UK-based start-ups each year, according to the latest NESTA research. Demand for supported spaces in which to collaborate and grow is increasing. Figures from Savills reveal that in 2016, pharmaceutical companies acquired 372,819 sq ft of office space across the South East alone. These commitments included three record-breaking deals signed after the EU referendum. N u r t G r o w u r e Science and technology sites are the only places offering the provision of innovation and business support services. Unlike business parks, UKSPA members have the capacity, resources, and management teams able to understand and facilitate the business of science and technology, where it is going, its products and its markets. They must support every stage in the growth cycle of their tenant businesses and know the appropriate third parties that are able to help those businesses through their journey. As our sector matures, UKSPA and its members must look to the future. We must seek to support the full innovation cycle. We need to get a positive flow of companies from incubators and accelerators all the way through the system. To drive the knowledge economy and maximise opportunities presented by our valuable supported space, science site management teams must face the challenge of developing and initiating a strong, positive exit strategy to assist maturing companies out of the parks and into the wider community. The space, resources, facilities and expertise associated with each park should be available to new and growing companies. To move forward, science sites must focus on incubation and acceleration, feeding into the future of the national economy. I n n o v a t e To survive in a knowledge economy, local parks can no longer function in isolation. Demand for locations that support innovation and development in increasingly competitive global markets will drive tenants to facilities with strong, reliable digital connectivity between geographies and across sectors. Without extended networks, smaller parks may become vulnerable. Cross-park partnerships and collaborations between industry, higher education providers, research hospitals, and government are all increasingly important to a secure future. We are no longer running science parks. We are developing innovation communities. To accomplish this, the UK Science Park Association must rebrand. As an association we are strong, but we must not limit ourselves to the boundaries of the UK, the limits imposed by the “science” label, or the oft misconstrued word “park”. To continue thriving we must evolve to seek international collaboration, and we must accept that true innovation works most effectively when the logical, analytical, right-hand brain of science and mathematics works together with the creative, holistic, left-hand brain of artistic awareness and intuition. We must lift ourselves away from the perimeter fencing associated with park boundaries and expand outwards, connecting with our wider communities and networking through digital technologies. SUCCEED In our future, collaborative partnerships (as distinct from mergers) between national and international partner associations will also become key. With clients in common, we should seek to build services in common. Our tenants are no longer local. The majority are now global. Markets are global, technology is global, research is global. We must To survive in a knowledge e c o n o m y, l o c a l p a r k s can no longer function i n i s o l at i o n .