Science and Technology Park Development:Capacity Building and Technical Assistance
Since the 1970s, UNESCO has been involved in the promotion of the relationship between science, technology, innovation and economic development leading in 1993 to the creation of the University-Industry Science Partnership (UNISPAR) Programme. Originally the Programme aimed at raising the quality of technical universities in developing countries and encouraging them to be more involved in the process of industrialization of their country. In 2002, the goal of UNISPAR is reoriented toward the promotion of interaction between universities and the productive sector with emphasis on the establishment of science and technology parks (STP).
Science and technology parks hold a special interest for UNESCO because it is an economic and technological development complex aimed at fostering knowledge based economies by bringing together scientific research, business and governmental organizations in one physical location. The park complex can also promote technology innovation and incubation, training and facilities for exhibition and market development. Availability of science and technology parks especially in developing countries can help the member states in their effort to promote science and technology innovation and commercialization of R&D, science and engineering education as well as continued professional training.
In order to promote the development of Science and Technology Parks around the world, UNESCO has set its strategy and in cooperation with other partners has been conducting several activities. The paper describes strategy and lesson learned from UNESCO’s actions in promoting science and technology parks, especially in developing countries.
2. Strategy of UNESCO involvement in Science and Technology Park Development
There is a great unbalance of scientific resources distribution in the world. It has been established that 95% of new science in the world is created in the countries comprising only one-fifth of the world’s population; the remaining four-fifths contribute only 5% of new science. This unbalanced distribution of scientific activity generates serious problems not only for the scientific community in the developing countries but also for the economic development of these countries. Unfortunately, we have no the exact information about the distribution of science and technology parks around the world. But, we believe that its distributions follow the pattern of the distribution of the scientific resources.
Our strategies were developed around this problem with objective to provide developing countries with an appropriate solution for development of their science, technology and innovation.
First: Strengthening university, industry and government partnership
Our approach based on the triple helix model of innovation, with converging institutional spheres of academia. It is a spiral model of innovation that captures multiple reciprocal relationships at different points in the process of knowledge capitalization. Etzkowitz (2002) explained that there are three important of transformation in the triple helix cooperation. The first dimension of the triple helix model is internal transformation in each of the helices, such as the development of lateral ties among companies through strategic alliances or an assumption of an economic development mission by universities. The second is the influence of one helix upon another, for example, the role of the government in instituting an indirect industrial policy, R&D policy at university, etc.. When the rules of the game for the disposition of intellectual property produced from government sponsored research were changed; technology transfer activities spread to a much broader range of universities, resulting in the emergence of an academic technology transfer profession. The third dimension is the creation of a new overlay of trilateral networks and organizations from the interaction among the three helices, formed for the purpose of coming up with new ideas and formats for high-tech development.
A transformation in the functions of university, industry, and government is taking place as each institution can assume the role of the other. Under certain circumstances, the university can take the role of industry, helping to form new firms in incubator facilities. Government can take the role of industry, helping to support these new developments through funding programs and changes in the regulatory environment. Industry can take the role of the university in developing training and research, often at the same high level as universities.
Second: Capacity building
Capacity has been defined as the ability of individuals and organisations or organisational units to perform functions effectively, efficiently and sustainably (UNDP, 1998). This implies that capacity is not a passive state but part of a continuing process and that human resources are central to capacity development. It is a continuous process reflecting society’s need to respond to new ideas and technologies and changing socio-economical and political realities.
Furthermore, UNDP defined 'capacity building' as the creation of an enabling environment with appropriate policy and legal frameworks, institutional development, including community participation (of women in particular), human resources development and strengthening of managerial systems, adding that, UNDP recognizes that capacity building is a long-term, continuing process, in which all stakeholders participate (ministries, local authorities, non-governmental organizations and water user groups, professional associations, academics and others.
UNESCO’s approach in capacity building in science and technology park development is to facilitate exchanges experience between experimented science park managers (resource persons or experts) with new of future managers (trainees). UNESCO in cooperation with its financial partners has set up a five year plan for capacity building of science and technology parks managers. The project is more interested in improving quality of training participants rather than to number of people who follow training. We expect to train around 25 science park managers per year. The trainees are member or the regional network of science and technology park in their region and will actively follow the evolution of development of a pilot project in their region.
Third: Technical assistance
Technical Assistance is used to increase the level of expertise of the interested UNESCO member States in science and technology park governance. UNESCO in cooperation with partners could provide its member States with technical assistance in all phases of STP development, such as:
·Feasibility study of Science and Technology Park development
·Designing mastebusiness plan
·Infrastructures development and management: drawing up estate development, telecommunication, transportation, etc
·Fund raising and financial management
·Human resources management
·Management of technology business incubation
·Legal advice in business incorporation, taxation, immigration, labor law, intellectual property and conflict of laws, etc.
·Promotion and marketing
·Relations with University and Industry
Capacity building and technical assistance activities cooperation are conducted in close cooperation with existing international non governmental organization (NGOs), such as International Association of Science Parks, World Technopolis Association, etc. Because these networks of science parks are also at the same times is a network of experts which could be used as resources persons or experts in capacity building and technical assistance activities.
Fourth: Creating supports system of technical assistance and capacity building
At the end of 5 years, we expect to have one pilot project in each following region: Africa, Arab States, Asia Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Each pilot project has triple functions: first, as object of capacity building for science parks managers in the region; second, as an object of technical assistance because UNESCO will provide the pilot project with technical assistance; and third, as locus of regional network.
Based on our awareness that the innovators rarely innovate alone, it is why UNESCO supports and promotes the development of international partnership on science and technology parks. At least in the world for the time being we have three big network of science parks, such as IASP with more than 400 members, University Research Parks with around 100 members and WTA with around 70 members. Unfortunately, the existing networks are not very strong. Our strategy is to collaborate the international networks, strengthen the existing regional networks and assist the creation of a new one if it does not exist.
c. International centers and UNESCO Chairs
The objective of the creation of the International Centres is to meet the needs of an international platform for science, technology and innovation (STI) in developing countries. Almost all developed countries have well established STI research centres/institutes which provide training and policy advice and conduct research. However, such a capacity is lacking in many developing countries where science, technology and innovation systems are fragmented and with very little coordination. Furthermore, research centres/institutes are very rare. Thus, an international centre on science, technology and innovation will facilitate capacity building in policy analysis for developing countries. Initially, the centre may provide training and research opportunities and policy advice; at a later stage, it may help its Member States to develop their own national centres.
The UNITWIN (university education twinning and networking scheme) Programme was launched in 1992, in accordance with a resolution adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 26th session (1991). The Programme operates through the establishment of UNESCO chairs. This Programme serves as a prime means of capacity building through the exchange of knowledge and sharing in a spirit of solidarity. The main participants are universities and research institutions, in partnership with many important higher education NGOs, foundations, and public and private sector organizations. It covers training, research and exchange of academics and offers a platform for information sharing in all major fields within the competence of UNESCO, such as science, technology and innovation.
3. Summary of Key Actions
3.1. Capacity building
a.Training workshop on "Efficient Management of Science and Technology Parks", Bergamo, Italy, 19-20 September 2004.
It was for the first time, UNESCO conducted a special training workshop on science and technology park development. It was organized in collaboration with the International Association of Science Parks (IASP) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) as a pre-conference activity of IASP. If we compare to the IASP conference, it was just a small event. But politically it was very import because it was marked, UNESCO the commitment on capacity building for science and technology park.
The training workshop addresses the following subjects: choice of appropriate models, master planning, financial aspects, infrastructure, services, incubator, marketing, networking, human resources, outsourcing policies, public relations and co-operation with university and industry. It is designed to share the experience of experts with Science and Technology Park managers and policymakers. Six international experts on science and technology park -Luis Sanz (Spain), Marco Baccanti (Italy), Jean François Balducchi (France), Pierre Belanger (Canada), Sten Gunnar Johansson (Sweden) and Harry Nicholls (UK)- shared experience with more than 25 participants from developing countries. It consists of 8 sessions, each divided in two parts: (i) expert presentation (case study) focusing on the problems that had to be faced and on the solutions implemented for those problems; and (ii) intense discussion. The experts also facilitated group discussions among the participants, as well as question and answer sessions.
b. Annual Training Workshop on Science and Technology Park Governance, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
During the last four years,UNESCO through its Science Policy and Sustainable Development Division and World Technopolis Association have been working in very close cooperation. Based on their common objectives, both organizations have signed a mutual understanding in supporting science and technology parks (technopolis) development through sharing experience, facilitating technology transfer and encouraging cooperation among science and technology parks. UNESCO and WTA expressed their intention to render assistance to each other for the improvement of their service and function, for such as aim they agree to cooperate in: capacity building, technical assistance, promoting global network, promoting research and knowledge dissemination on science and technology park.
Since 2005, both organizations have been holding annual training workshop. The main objectives of the training workshops are:
(i)deepening of our understanding of issues and challenges on the technology business incubation around the world
(ii)upgrading the knowledge of managers or future managers of science and technology parks;
(iii)exploration of practical solutions to promote the development of science and technology park in developing countries;
(iv)strengthening bilateral or multilateral cooperation between science parks by facilitation of face-to-face contacts, sharing of information and experiences, and establishment of a cooperative regional network among technology business incubation managers.
Each workshop focuses on special subject of science and technology park governance. In 2005, the workshop discussed all issues related to science city governance. In 2006, it focused on high-tech cluster development in developing countries and this year on technology business incubators. According to the subject of the workshop, we invited between 8 to 10 appropriate experts to share their experience with the participants.
The principal target participants of the training workshop are managers of science and technology parks, manager of technology business incubation, science policy-makers, etc.. Participants should have adequate scientific and management experiences in order to benefit from this workshop. It is expected that participants will share their practical knowledge and their vision. The number of participants will not be more than 40. Every participant should give a 10 minutes presentation and submit 5 pages paper on his/her science park or incubator, or, more generally, on the current status of the science and technology development in his/her country.
Recently UNESCO has involved in the organization of two international conferences. First, the “International Conference on Regional Innovation Systems and Science and Technology Policies in Emerging Economies: Experiences from China and the World” was held in Guangzhou, China, 19-21 April 2004; second, Isfahan 2006 International Conference on Science and Technology Parks, Isfahan, Iran, 16-19 September 2006. Next year we planed to organize the “Caucasus Regional Conference on Development of Innovative and Knowledge-Driven Economy, Tbilisi, Georgia, 28-31 March 2008.
3.2. Technical assistance and policy advice in STP development and management
Unfortunately, our activity in technical assistance in development of science parks is still very limited. Until now we have only provided two science parks with technical assistance: firs, the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Science Park (KASP) in the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and second, Formulation of Egypt national strategy for science and technology parks development.
a. King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Science Park
The feasibility study and development strategy of KASP has been conducted in 2002 by UNESCO experts which consisted of Dr. Marco Baccanti. Dr. Harry Nicholls. It was plan that located on a 35-hectares site in the north of the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) main campus, the park is closely integrated with the university. The location with its proximity to science and engineering colleges provides for considerable interaction between tenant firms, their personnel and university scientists and engineers.
The park will house a range of firms, mainly those involved in the regional petroleum and chemical industry and the growing IT sector, both of which are major strengths of the university. The park, first phase of which is scheduled to be completed by 2004, will be leased to companies interested in maintaining close links with the university community as well as with other Saudi Petroleum and IT-based industries. At the pre are three companies that have expressed willingness to join the park. These three – Schlumberger, Ciba, and JCCP presently share research interests with the university and are located in its Research Institute (RI). With five more companies to sign up with the commencement of the science park, a significant figure of approximately 20 companies by the end of 2005 is expected.
In addition to providing land and infrastructure, KASP offers unique opportunities and incentives for start-up companies through specialized growth environments in the park’s technology incubator. Companies that outgrow this initial start-up environment can be housed as tenants in the science park. The development model for the park lays considerable importance in private sector involvement, where the university will lease the land-area to a private firm for development and construction. The firm will derive returns from the land and building rent paid by tenant firms. The park’s management and administration will be through a board of directors jointly constituted by representatives of the government, university and the industry.
3.3. Pilot project
According to UNESCO and WTA agreement in technical assistance and capacity building in science and technology park development, it is foreseen that one pilot project will be established in each following region: Africa, Arab States, Asia Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. A pilot project has triple functions: first, as object of capacity building for science parks managers in the region; second, as an object of technical assistance because UNESCO will provide the pilot project with technical assistance; and third, as locus of regional network.
The first step before starting the establishment of a pilot project, UNESCO and its partners conducts a regional workshop in each region. The objectives if the regional workshop are: (i) to assess the state of development of science and technology parks in every country in each region; (ii) to initiate the development of a network of science and technology parks at regional level; as well as (iii) to identify a science park that can be used as a UNESCO-WTA pilot project. The workshop consists of five different parts as follows: introductory courses, participant presentations, working group discussion, panel discussion on networking on science park development and conclusion. Since 2006, three regional workshops were conducted in the Arab States, Africa and Asia Pacific Region.
a.Arab States Pilot Project
Arab States Regional Workshop on Science and Technology Park Development, Bahrain, 12-14 September 2006. The workshop was attended by 18 participants from 12 countries in the region. Mubarak City for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Egypt, was selected as the UNESCO-WTA pilot project in the region. Last July, a team of UNESCO experts consists of Prof. Deog-Seong Oh and Dr Malcolm Parry from the UK in cooperation with Egyptian experts have conducted a study to develop a business plan of the park. The draft of business plan will be discussed on a two-day seminars next December.
b.Africa Pilot Project
In order to prepare the pilot project, the Africa Regional Workshop on Science and Technology Park Development has been conducted in Windhoek, Namibia, 9-11 May 2007. It was attended by 26 participants from 22 African countries. Science and Technology Park of Nairobi University was selected as UNESCO-WTA pilot project in Africa.
c. Asia Pacific Pilot Project
Regional Workshop on Science and Technology Park Development has been conducted from 3 to 5 September 2007 in Jakarta Indonesia. UNESCO has received several propositions. Proposals are under evaluation. The selection committee has not decided where the pilot project will be conducted in Indonesia.
3.4. Creation of an International Centers
In order to facilitate the promotion of STI, under the request of the hosted countries UNESCO is establishing two international centers: first, International Centre for South-south Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and second, International Centre for Science and Technology Parks Governance, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
The International Centre for South-south Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, Kuala Lumpur will act as an international platform for South-South cooperation in science, technology and innovation and make use of the network of the G77 plus China and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Consultations have identified the overall goal of the proposed Centre to be the increase in the capacity for management of science, technology and innovation.
The International Centre for Science and Technology Parks Governance, Daejeon will act as an international platform for promotion development of science and technology parks (technopolis) in developing countries. The basic activity of the centre is capacity building and technical assistance in technopolis governance. Specifically, the project will offer capacity building activities on the requirements for and establishment and management of technopolis. Furthermore, it will also provide technical assistance and policy advice through pilot projects in the following regions: Asia, Africa, Arab States, East Europe and Latin America.
Both centers will be functioned as platform for capacity building, technical assistance, research and knowledge dissemination, centre for networking and information exchange and technology transfer. The creation of the International Centre for South-south Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, Kuala Lumpur, was approved by UNESCO in its 33rd Session, October 2007.
3.5. Creation of UNESCO Chairs
The programme of UNESCO Chair in field of science, technology and innovation was started in 1993 within the context of the UNISPAR Programme. Chairs were established at technical universities in developing countries and supported by industry in industrialized countries. Internationally well known leading companies have agreed to sponsor such Chairs by providing funds and grants for fellowships. The companies' engineers and managers give short courses and special lectures at the Chairs. In the two to three-year phase of the Chair, university and industry will co-operate in the field of engineering education. If both parties consider the Chair to be viable, they will extend the activities to Research and Development. The potential subjects of the Chairs include, but are not limited to, environmental technologies, infrastructures, renewable energies, total quality management and food industry. Eleven chair were establish around the world.
Let me give you an example of the UNESCO Chair in science, technology and innovation. The UNESCO Chair for S&T which is hosted by Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Research Institute for Guangdong Development is one of the most active chairs. The Chair has been conducting training and research, organizing international conference, inter university exchange and partnership and book publication.
UNESCO has achieved very positive progress in field of in science and technology park. During the last five years, the Organization has been focusing its activities in capacity building and technical assistance in science and technology park development. UNESCO play role as facilitator by mobilizing intellectual and financial resources to improve the capacity of developing countries in development of science and technology park.