Technology parks are a world phenomenon. Wikipedia defines a research park, science park, or science and technology park as an area with a collection of buildings dedicated to scientific research on a business footing.
Typically businesses and organizations in the parks focus on product advancement and innovation as opposed to industrial parks that focus on manufacturing and business parks that focus on administration.
Besides building area, these parks offer a number of shared resources, such as uninterrupted power supply, telecommunications hubs, reception and security, management offices, restaurants, bank offices, convention center, parking, internal transportation, entertainment and sports facilities, etc. In this way, the park offers considerable advantages to hosted companies, by reducing overhead costs with these facilities.
Science and technology parks are encouraged by local government, in order to attract new companies to towns, and to expand their tax base and employment opportunities to citizens. Land and other taxes are usually waived or reduced along a number of years, in order to attract new companies for the science and technological parks.
Science parks are sources of entrepreneurship, talent, and economic competitiveness, and are key elements of the infrastructure supporting the growth of today’s global knowledge economy. By providing a location in which government, universities and private companies cooperate and collaborate, science parks create environments that foster collaboration and innovation. They enhance the development, transfer, and commercialization of technology.
UNESCO has completed several studies on science and technology park governance.
Since 2002, UNISPAR has focused on capacity-building and technical assistance in the governance of science and technology parks.
The expected results are:
- stronger partnerships and linkages between universities and industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to promote innovation, engineering education, North-South cooperation, gender mainstreaming, maintenance and related areas for technological development;
- development of human resources, including the training of engineers in the transfer of research results, maintenance of equipment and related areas;
- stronger networking of technology for development, sponsored by industry with UNESCO support.
To this end, UNESCO’s works in close cooperation with the international professional organizations in this field. These include the World Technopolis Association (WTA) and the International Association of Science Parks (IASP).
This activity is now attracting international development agencies like the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). In September 2006, UNESCO, KOICA and Daejeon Metropolitan City signed a five-year agreement to help developing countries manage science and technology parks in such areas as biotechnology and ICTs. As part of this agreement, international training workshops are being organized annually for park managers. The project is also developing regional networks.