AURP: Creating Communities of Knowledge
Consider the potential created when the science discovered inside a university or national lab and the know-how inside a high-tech business connect. Visualize a place where knowledge workers and entrepreneurs have access to shared instruments and labs, science libraries and fellow entrepreneurs with whom to work. If you add access to venture funding, you've just described the pay dirt known as a university research or science park. Today over 144,000 Americans are employed by companies in such parks across the country. In our global environment of outsourced jobs and manufacturing, the innovation and collaboration taking place in them provides a key to maintaining America's economic competitiveness.
University research and science parks are a path through which innovation flows from the lab into the marketplace. As these parks harness the power of education and research, new jobs, new industries and solutions to age-old problems are found. The world's first research park started in the early 1950s and was a seed in the creation of the community known today as Silicon Valley. Another early research park set out to stop the "brain drain" from a rural, agricultural region, which was then dependent on the tobacco industry. Today, Research Triangle Park and the area around Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina is home to many of the world's most advanced high technology businesses. These businesses employ over 40,000 people.
Research and science parks provide the launching pad that startup companies need when they are spun out from a university or larger company. Park-provided training in such areas as intellectual property and business planning help these fledgling businesses to succeed. Universities, in turn, greatly benefit from their exposure to the business world, and the "spin-in" of the business acumen and cutting-edge research being conducted ou