Thursday, June 01 2017
By Kate McEnroe, President of Kate McEnroe Consulting
When we hear the term research park, the automatic tendency is to think of our largest private and state institutions, those that receive major research grants.
It has now become almost the standard for major universities to create parks to foster technology transfer and economic development initiatives, not to mention the benefits they bring to the university in attracting gifted faculty and students.
Just as research parks are usually associated with institutions offering four-year and graduate programs, the discussions about the need for an increase in the STEM workforce also tends to focus on boosting the number of individuals with bachelors, masters, or doctorate degrees.
Thursday, January 14 2016
By Catherine Searle Renault, principal and owner of Innovation Policyworks, LLC
When the grandfather of university research parks, the Research Triangle Park (RTP) near Raleigh, NC, is making major changes, you know something is afoot. After nearly 50 years, RTP is changing its approach, modifying its suburban campus’ auto-accessible layout to include a centralized “downtown.” Adding a new 400 acre new development will make RTP more like a city: stores, restaurants, condos and apartments "for a variety of incomes"—and of course, tech companies.
The motivation for this change is the rise of innovation districts across the country that are offering a new vision where anchor institutions like universities, large and small companies and the resources of the broader ecosystem co-exist to produce economic vitality and growth. And, these innovation districts are largely thriving in large metropolitan areas, challenging the suburban office park model.
What’s driving innovation districts? Millennials and Baby Boomers. The demographic shift, driven by aging Baby Boomers and Millennials, is causing population growth in metro areas after decades of flight to the suburbs. Both older workers and the youngest workers want to live, work and play in the same place, have lower car ownership levels and value an environmentally-friendly, low carbon footprint lifestyle.