Spanish Science and Technology Parks. Implementation model at mediterranean regions

Rafael Eloy Montero Gosálbez

Lawyer, MBA, PMP

@RafaMontero

This paper presents a brief overview of Science and Technology Parks (PCyT), focusing on its implementation in Spain and outlining a model with its characteristics and required resources, if there are any.

“Spanish Science and Technology Parks. Implementation model at mediterranean regions”, “Los Parque Científicos y Tecnológicos Españoles. Modelo de implantación en el Mediterráneo Español”. Originally published in No. 113 COITIA Journal, pg. 20-29. ISSN 1696-9200.

1.      SCIENCE PARKS

The origin of these facilities should be sought in two American experiences, Silicon Valley and Route 128 in Boston (Castells et al., 1994), whose conditions for innovation we try to recreate in Science Parks (Ondategui 2001).

These examples have essentially two things in common: an initial universitary core (Stanford and MIT) and the development of research projects with financial support from the Department of Defense, at the pace of military conflicts of the second half of the twentieth century. Features that complete design (Castells et al., 1994. Ondategui, 2001) are the presence of powerful informal social network -true center of the innovation process- and venture capital firms, together with local culture based on hard work, aggressive competition, individualism and reference models of economic success.

Public authorities have an important role in its design, implementation and promotion, developing infrastructures, facilities, marketing policies, tax benefits and even tayloring facilities for companies that will not always be technological, being also relevant job creation and investments of those companies.

First Parks were conceived from a territorial perspective, measuring its success by square meters of facilities more than by their ability to innovate. Nevertheless, this dynamic has been replaced by the quality of spaces and the presence of complementary activities and services, the involvement of universitary research, the importance of quality of life and business culture (Ondategui, 2002). Today, in accordance with data from IASP, only at 10% of the Parks in the world, universities lack the right to vote (www.iasp.ws, 2012).

 Whatever the formula, the point with the greater difficulty is to create synergies between institutions and business, to whose existence physical closeness is necessary but not enough (Castells et al. 1994).

In studies of Castells and Halls (1994) and Ondategui (2001, 2002) a number of features needed to succeed parks can be found:

There is a clear criterion for their localization: “dense urban environments” (Ondategui, 2002, pg. 150). We can identify metropolises as the genuine innovation centers (Castells et al., 1994, Ondategui, 2002), polycentric regions with strong industrial and educational presence, international connections and a critical mass enough in order to cause the relationships that generate innovation.

  • Opt for one of three basic objectives: re-industrialization, regional development or creation of an “innovative environment”.
  • Strong planning and financial momentum from public authorities.
  • Administrations and Universities should set priorities for research lines and industries to develop.
  • Four participants needed: research institutes, universities, large companies and SMEs.
  • Universities should engage intensely, but not as marketer or developer.
  • The role of the university is crucial generating training and research, creating links between university researchers and industry, encouraging spin-off from public research and allowing compatibility between teaching, management of spin-off and private research.
  • Construction of professional social networks and enterprise culture in the area of influence, creating a critical mass of companies with associative dynamics to generate synergies, technology transfer and employment.
  • Real estate development of the facilities is not enough.
  • It is very difficult to achieve success in environments without previous industrialization.
  • Financial support from venture capital.
  • Since we talk about long-term developments, at least 20 years, that exceeds both the long-term business and the political cycle, pressures to get returns of those investment soon will be very strong, so a supposed Science Park may end up as a mere industrial estate.
  • It is necessary to generate financial support for enterprise incubation.
  • Significant presence of the private sector, to set management for results.
  • Set IP policies where economic benefits are shared between university and researchers.
  • Advanced services and infrastructure quality (over 80% of global Parks have its own incubators), supply of rental housing and office, leisure, catering, sports, etc.

 

2.      SCIENCE PARKS IN SPAIN

2.1  THE BEGINNINGS

In Spain, the experience begins in the 80s with the impulse of the regional governments of Basque Country (PT Bizcaia), Catalonia, Madrid (Tres Cantos, today PCM), Galicia, Andalusia (Cartuja and PTA), Asturias, Valencia and Castilla y León.

In 1989 the Association of Science and Technology Parks of Spain, APTE, is created, gathering Parks running and projects with an advanced stage of development (Apte, 2004). In 1992 Felipe Romera summarized the Technological Park of Andalusia with a target, the re-industrialization of Malaga and some characteristics: quality physical environment, area protected from speculation, an industrial park, a business park, an area of R&D, a services center and a place for technology transfer.

 

2.2  GROWTH

After 1992, more initiatives promoted by regional governments appear in Basque Country, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Gijon (Ondategui, 2002).

The evolution of Spanish parks in the 90s starts the evolution from mere real estate projects to the consideration of innovation in its design. Awareness is taken about that the proper focus is innovation, which is pursued by attracting ICT companies and with the collaboration between institutions and companies, technology transfer, diversification and productive sector reactivation. In 1997 Spain had 11 developed Parks and 5 in project (Ondategui, 2001).

 

2.3  EXPANSION

From 1998, begins a phase of expansion (Apte, 2004), thanks to the direct involvement of universities. In 2000 we found 14 Parks in operation and 5 in Project (Ondategui, 2001).

The impulse by universities is such that 21 parks are developed directly by universities and 42 universities are involved in collaborative projects with Parks, with support from regional and local governments. New facilities are smaller, leaving the real estate logic and focusing on generate innovation. APTE reaches 51 partners in 2004, while the Ministry of Science and Technology launches specific funds for Parks (Apte, 2004).

As for the impact on business and employment (Ondategui, 2002), in 1997 the total was 500 companies established in Parks, in 2001 exceeded 960. Half of the companies were dedicated to R&D and technical jobs ranged between 28% and 60%. 90% of firms in the parks are SMEs; many of them were born in incubators and once operating, continue by renting spaces in the park.

As for the reasons that firms found to join a Park, Ondategui (2002) emphasizes the prestige that comes with the environment, facilities, acces to technology and communications, advanced services and incubation, proximity to universities, existence of enterprise networks, possibility to engage in institutional relationships and the ease of openness to international markets.

Regarding to the importance of innovation in the Spanish parks, consistently with its initial conception of an instrument of regional development, until mid 90s universities were not active members, when the parks began to implement attraction strategies (not integration) of universities, by creating Transfer Offices and developing of projects financed by ERDF Fund (Ondategui, 2002).

At the late 90s, 24 Spanish universities were involved in parks. In 2002, 40 universities were collaborating with members of APTE and 73% of firms in parks collaborated with the university, allowing expecting a significant technology transfer (Ondategui, 2001).

In line with this late connection between university and Parks, Ondategui (2002) found that the phenomenon of universitary spin-off was not being produced in Spain, for lack of leadership of universities and venture capital financing.

As for the potential development of parks, Ondategui (2002) stressed the need for specialization in selected key activities such as health, environment, biotechnology, new materials and ICT.

 

2.4  CURRENT STATUS OF THIS ISSUE

The growth of these frames during the first decade of the century has been such that we find the figure of 83 parks in 2012 in different stages of development.

In order to analyze the issue beyond the mere extension of the figure and to conclude a Spaniard development model, all 44 existing parks in Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia have been examined, elaborating records with data from APTE and the parks themselves. From their analysis, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  1. Parks located in metropolitan areas are the physical environment of the Third Industrial Revolution.
  1. This expansion shows the trend of provide midsize cities (at regional level) with universities, research centers and structures able to promote innovation (Ondategui, 2001).
  1. The engagement of universities has grown and reaches the design of parks.
  1. The power of the metropolitan area of Barcelona and its province, with the highest concentration of these facilities in the studied regions, 17 parks, confirms the theory that say the true innovative areas are the metropolises. We see this power compared to other studied territories:

 

 

Source: prepared by autor

 

  1. There remains a dichotomy Technology Park – Science Park, given the scarce presence of college in some Parks.
  1. Parks look for attract TBCs (technology-based companies) and generate spin-off, over other forms of entrepreneurship. Value-added services are introduced; help from regional administrations, business associations, foundations or other private entities, is often requested to their maintenance.
  1. The trend to include from the beginning university, technology transfer and quality of infrastructure (Ondategui, 2001) is consolidated, also trying to create a culture of innovation, synergizing with the environment and providing management services and business advice.
  1. Parks have developed systems for attracting private investors: Business Angels, Family Offices, Private Equity, participative loans…
  2. It is possible to differentiate between Parks that have been developed or born very specialized, such as the Health Sciences Park of Granada, and other with a generalist profile, relatively open to any innovative activity.Among the specialized is stresses the existence of two large groups, food (Lleida, Axarquia, Jerez, Reus or Jaén), and health approaches (Granada, Barcelona Biomedical, Polytechnic University of Catalonia or Biotecnópolis).
  3. In 2011 (Apte, 2011) are seen three main sectors, first, ICT and computing, secondly engineering, consulting and advanced services and third, health-related activities. Activities related to ICTs have held since the very beginning first place, weighing regularly since 2002 between 23 and 28% of total activities. Engineering and consulting are placed from the beginning between 12 and 16% of total activities. Health sector does not reach until 2008 third place, occupied until then by the Technology Centers.
  4. Regarding the number of companies housed in the Spanish parks, in 2011 were 6,030. The following table summarizes the most important in recent years annual increases; as it will be seen, there are significant increases during the economic crisis:

Source: Apte (2002 a 2008) and author

 

2.5  CONCLUSIONS

We have witnessed in the last decade the huge development of Science and Technology Parks, who knows to what extent influenced by the real estate whirlwind, which has resulted in a significant increase in research infrastructure and ICTs  in Spain.

Now that we are in a recessive phase of the economy should be remembered that the developed economies can not compete with the rest except for innovation (Castells et al., 1994).

 

  1. A PATTERN OF IMPLEMENTATION

As a result of the research, a model comprising core, partners, implementation strategy and services needed, can be suggested.

 

3.1.   CORE

 We start from the idea of the need to involve three types of entities in its design, implementation and management:

  1. Private sector that incorporates to the public service working methods, demands, attitude and performance of the private sector. Their presence in research makes it viable, results-oriented and promotes technology transfer. If most of the settlers were public bodies synergies, technology transfer or relevant economic activity would not be created.
  2. Universities.
  3. Public Authorities.

The initial impulse, given the way of development seen in Spain, will come from a local or regional government, or from a University. Developments leads by the private sector without government support are cases with little appearance.

 

3.2.   DESIRABLE PARTNERS

  • Local or regional government.
  • State, through grants, centers or research institutes.
  • Universities that provide the specialized workforce, research groups and mechanisms for technology transfer and spin-off.
  • Financial groups. The most active in Spanish Parks is Banco Santander.
  • Business organizations as employer’s associacions, Chambers of Commerce, professional associations, etc.
  • Companies or entities of the target sector, attracted to participate beyond their simple location in the park.
  • Seed capital and venture capital.

At least, is recommended the presence of a promoter duo, where the only essential partner, today, is University. Presence of local authorities is convenient, given their availability of public owned land for the implementation of these facilities.

 

3.3.   STRATEGIC LOCATION

Its strategic localization in regard to infrastructure, socio-economic environment and quality of life, is necessary.

First, is key closeness of a metropolitan area of regional or national prominence, universities, airport, port, high speed railway network, highways, etc.

Regarding the socio-economic characteristics of the environment, a proactive local authority, powerful informal social networks, entrepreneurial culture, existing industry and presence of venture capital are required.

Third, in terms of quality of life, powerful public transport networks, cultural vitality, wide variety of educatición and leisure, quality shops and good climate are required.

 

3.4.   IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY

In the current situation, to focus efforts in a clear direction, in one or more specific lines of work, is essential.

It becomes necessary to set clear and realistic goals from the very beginning, by deciding activities to promote according to the industrial environment, existing services and education supply in its area of influence.

In this way, Administrations and involved Universities should conduct a research about each new Park, where the overall implementation strategy is designed: location, land acquisition, financing of infrastructure works and construction, target companies, land tenure mechanisms, communication strategies, etc., not forgetting to set the research fields, technologies and industries to promote as a priority.

Besides the presence of the University and its research groups, technology centers and research institutes, should be represented to provide R&D.

Regarding to companies to attract, the implementation frame should be able to accommodate large companies, but also SMEs, spin-offs and start-ups. Although the Park is focused on certain technology-based activities, other productive or ancillary activities and advanced services must be hosted.

It is necessary to establish strong links between university, industry and the service sector, with the Park as an intermediary, and to pursue the setting on of mechanisms to encourage cross-fertilization. The Park can not be an “island”, but must be integrated and coordinated with its environment building networks and shaping a renewed entrepreneurial culture in its area of influence. As already noted, it is not enough the mere real estate development.

Lastly, remember that you will need patience, because outcomes can only be measured after 20 years.

 

3.5.   VALUE ADDED SERVICES

Of the study of the existing Parks we can extract a desirable group of facilities and value added services:

  • R&D Services:
  • TTO (Technology Transfer Office) of involved universities.
  • IP policies that distribute benefits between university and researchers.
  • Information and guidance on industrial and intellectual property.
  • Laboratories and technical facilities available to hosted companies.
  • Integration in cooperation networks (APTE, IASP, etc).
  • Library with databases and scientific publications.
  • Technology Alert Service and integration in CDTI’s PIDI Network.
  • Information and advice about grants and R&D agencies.
  • Promote technologies developed by entities or companies located in the Park.

 

  • Communication and events services:
  • Park brand image that offers prestige.
  • Press office and communication service (news, conferences and events).
  • Monthly newsletter.
  • Web with calendar of events. Presence in social networks.
  • Promote events of hosted companies.
  • Organize and coordinate events.

 

  • Business incubation services and accommodation at subsidized prices:
  • Virtual hosting, to companies wishing services without being physically housed in the park.
  • Pre-incubator: housing and counseling up to one year, to jump from one idea to a company.
  • TBCs and spin-off incubator, with modular offices, laboratories, counseling programs and business support.
  • General business incubators for not TBCs emerging companies with modular offices and support programs less focused on innovation.
  • Coworking Spaces.
  • Access 24h/365 days a year to offices and incubators.
  • Auditorium with simultaneous translation and rooms for conferences and meetings.
  • Video conference rooms and classrooms.

 

  • Additional real estate services: 
  • Offices and laboratories for rent.
  • Warehouses for rent.
  • Plots for sale, rent and leasehold.
  • Charge and discharge areas.
  • Lounge area with vending machines.

A Park must have all or several of these formulas. Never may miss the offer of rent, which shifts the burden of the initial investment to Park promoters, which is already a real estate mechanism that fosters innovation.

 

  • Advanced Business Services, primarily designed for the incubated companies, but accessible to all companies hosted in the Park:
  • Advice and support to entrepreneurs.
  • Assessment of business ideas and support developing business plans.
  • Support drafting strategic plans of companies.
  • Counseling and tutoring in management.
  • Information, advice and management of grants and subsidies.
  • Advice and training on finance and business management.
  • Legal, financial and tax advisory.
  • Advice on marketing and communication.
  • Advice on internationalization and export.
  • Technology Transfer Service.
  • Detection of new businesses, innovative ideas and potential entrepreneurs.
  • R&D Consulting: identification of ideas, partners and stakeholders; contract negotiation.
  • Information about Quality Certifications.

 

  • Financial Services: 
  • Processing of grants to companies and programs located in Parks.
  • Aids granted by the park itself.
  • Bank offices.
  • Search service of funding, partners or stakeholders: seed capital and venture capital, family offices, business angels, European Union, governmental entities (CDTI, ICO, ICEX, IDEA, ENISA), Regions, banks, chambers of commerce, universities, associations, etc.

 

  • Services for business cooperation:
  • Business Breakfasts.
  • Business-University Forums.
  • Meetings, seminars and conferences.
  • Association of hosted entrepreneurs and companies.
  • Virtual Community web.
  • Service of coopertive alerts.
  • Intermediation service for joint ventures creation.

 

  • Education services:
  • Arrangements with business schools.
  • Undergraduate and graduate training at partner universities.
  • Interships service.
  • Nursery.
  • Business training with different pathways according to the profile of the company and its managers.

 

  • Tax Advantages: Tax incentives, at least, from local authorities (capital gains tax, construction tax).

 

  • Facilities Services:
  • Surveillance, security and access control to Park and its buildings.
  • Switchboard.
  • Receive and send mail and messaging. Photocopying and printing services.
  • Cleaning and maintenance of public spaces.
  • Climate Control.
  • Wi-fi in public spaces.
  • Rental of audiovisual and videoconference equipment. Hire of furniture, storage and parking. Meeting rooms and classrooms.
  • Construction of quality, with medium-low urban density and fiber optics.
  • Inner bike lane and connection to town.
  • Green areas and open spaces that facilitate professional meetings.
  • Shops, bars, restaurants, sport and health services.
  • Public Parking.
  • Close Gas station.
  • Affordable housing in the surroundings.
  • Hotel.
  • Strong links with public transport. Carpooling and Carsharing.
  • Ecopark.

 

3.6.   RESEARCH CENTERS

Regarding technology centers and research institutes, it is preferable that they focus on enhance the research groups of ssociated universities, the priority activities and activities traditionally present in the area or driven by hosted companies.

 

3.7.   STAFF NEEDED

In order to manage a Park, a big staff is not necessary. According to IASP (www.iasp.ws, 2011) most of the parks in the world are managed by a team of ten. Only 16% are over twenty people.

This requires a professional team of experienced managers. This structure may be limited at first to a general manager with administrative support. Once it starts up, you will need to enlarge sstaff with economic, operations and communication profiles. As a reference, UAB Park, which is part of a Campus of International Excellence, is managed by a team of twenty people.

A small team implies the need to entrust activities to other institutions, including grants management, incubation, networking, courses, etc.

 

4.      CONCLUSIONS

Thus, we have tried to review the current situation of the Spanish Parks and get an implementation model that does not remains only in the theoretical structure but collects every one of the resources, tangible and intangible, from the most complex to the most prosaic, necessaries to create a successful Science and Technology Park.

 

REFERENCES

  1. BOOKS, MONOGRAPHIES, WORKING PAPERS.

Memorias de Actividades. Apte, Málaga, 2001-2011.

Los parques científicos y tecnológicos en el centro del sistema de innovación, Apte. Málaga, 2004.

Directorio de empresas e instituciones. Asociación Apte. Málaga, 2010.

Apte. ApteTechno, Revista de Apte. Número 40. Málaga. 2012.

Castells, Manuel y Hall, Peter G. (1994). Tecnópolis Del Mundo: La Formación de Los Complejos Industriales del Siglo XXI. (…Ed.)  Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 2001.

Ondategui Rubio, J. (2001). Los Parques Científicos y Tecnológicos en España: retos y oportunidades. Dirección General de Investigación de la Comunidad de Madrid. Madrid, 2001.

Ondategui Rubio, J. (2002). Parques científicos e innovación en España, quince años de experiencia. Economía industrial, Nº 346, págs. 147-160.

Ramos, M.D. (1994). El sueño eterno. Del Plan Málaga al Parque Tecnológico, 1962-1992. Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Univ. de Málaga. Estudios de Arte, Geografía e Historia, 16, pg. 429-440. Málaga.

Romera Lubias, Felipe. (1992). El Parque tecnológico de Andalucía y el desarrollo regional. Boletín económico de Andalucía, Nº 14, págs. 55-62

Vegara, A y De las Rivas, J. (2004) Territorios Inteligentes, Fundación Metrópoli, Madrid, 2004.

 

  1. WEBS OF BODIES AND PARKS STUDIED:

IASP. Asociación Internacional de Parque Científicos:  http://www.iasp.ws/; 22@: www.22barcelona.com; Aeropolis: www.aeropolis.es; Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación: cpi.upv.es; Esade Creapolis: www.esadecreapolis.com/; Espaitec: www.espaitec.uji.es/; Fundación Parque Científico de Murcia: www.parquecientificomurcia.es/; Parque Científico de la UMH: www.parquecientificoumh.es; GEOLIT, Parque Científico y Tecnológico: www.geolit.es/; Parc Científic Barcelona: www.pcb.ub.edu;  Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari de Lleida: www.pcital.com; Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la Universitat de Girona: www.parcudg.com; Parc Científic Universitat de València: www.pcuv.es/; Parc de Recerca UAB: www.parc.uab.es/; Parc Tecnològic del Vallès: www.ptv.es/; Parque Balear de Innovación Tecnológica (PARCBIT): www.parcbit.es/; Parque Científico de Alicante:  www.uaparc.org/; Parque Científico-Tecnológico de Almería (PITA): www.pitalmeria.es/; Parque Científico y Tecnológico Cartuja: www.pctcartuja.es;  Parque Tecnológico Agroindustrial de Jerez: www.jereztecnologico.es/; Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía: www.pta.es;  Parque de Ciencias de la Salud de Granada:  www.ptsgranada.com/; Parque TecnoBahía: www.tecnobahia.es/; Parque Tecnológico Mataró-Maresme: www.tecnocampus.cat/; Technova Barcelona: www.technovabarcelona.org; València Parc Tecnològic: www.ptvalencia.es/; Parque Científico Tecnológico de Huelva: www.pcthuelva.es/; Parque Tecnológico Fuente Álamo: www.ptfuentealamo.com; Parque Rabanales 21: www.rabanales21.com/; Universidad de Cádiz: www.uca.es/; Parque Metropolitano de Granada: www.parquemetropolitano.com/; Parque de Investigación e Innovación–Parque UPC: www.upc.edu/; Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona: www.prbb.org/; Parque Tecnoalimentario Costa del Sol: www.tecnoalimentariocostadelsol.com; Fundación b_Tec: es.btec.cat/; Parc Tecnològic Barcelona Nord: www.bcn.cat/empresa; Parc Tecnològic de la Catalunya Central:  www.parc-central.com y   www.ptbages.com; Ciudad del Conocimiento Dehesa de Valme: www.upo.es/dgestrategia/biotecnopolis/index.jsp; Tecnoparc, Parc Tecnològic del Camp: www.tecnoparc.com; Parc de Recerca UPF – Ciències Socials i Humanitats: www.upf.edu/; Parque Científico y Tecnológico BZ: www.xpcat.netwww.elconsorci.net; Bipol’H: www.biocat.cat;Orbital 40. Parc Científic y Tecnològic de Terrasa: www.orbital40.com; Parc Empresarial Aeroespacials i de la Mobilitat de Viladecans:  www.deltabcn.cat/; Biotecnópolis Pablo de Olavide: www.upo.es/dgestrategia/biotecnopolis/index.jsp.

Comments are closed.