University Research, Science and Tech Parks: Open for Business in America

What is a university research, science or tech park? It is a place where government, private companies and universities work together. They each contribute their own resources – whether those resources are land, business acumen or knowledge. Working together, government, private businesses and universities collaborate on major projects, form partnerships to tackle major problems and, most importantly in today’s challenging economic climate, help to create jobs. Across the United States and Canada, there are about 180 different research, science and tech parks affiliated with universities. University research parks offer outstanding opportunities for companies seeking to have access to the highest and best that America has to offer.

The sort of collaborations that are undertaken for development in research parks, to just name a few, include partnerships leading to advances for supercomputing; climate and environment sciences; security sciences; health and life sciences; energy and nanotechnology. Often, university research parks are home to technology incubators, the University of Maryland research park and incubator being a good example.

University of Maryland Drives Foreign Direct Investment

The Maryland International Incubator (MI2) was created to help international, technology-based companies successfully enter the US marketplace. This incubator was created through collaboration between the University of Maryland, College Park and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

“The incubator, a partnership between the university and the state of Maryland, was designed to increase foreign direct investment,” said Brian Darmody, Associate Vice President for Research & Economic Development at the University of Maryland. “The Maryland International Incubator is now home to 13 companies and is located near the research park.”

Fraunhofer Network Links Institutes

The Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering (CESE) is a not-for-profit applied research and technology transfer organization located at the University of Maryland M Square Research Park. Also in the region, Fraunhofer USA, Inc. has placed US research centres at the University of Maryland M Square Research Park and at the Delaware Technology Park. The Fraunhofer network is Europe’s largest applied R&D organization. Each Fraunhofer USA research centre is closely affiliated with at least one of the 59 Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany as well as major research universities in the US.

The Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) at the Delaware Technology Park conducts research and development in plant and microbial biotechnology using plant-based systems for rapid, inexpensive production of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. “The centre is responsible for about 110 new jobs with an investment of about $40 million, including the R&D annual commitment, purchase and fit-out building, which has attracted about $60 million of investment from others”, said Michael Bowman, Chairman and President of the Delaware Technology Park. 

Research Park at Florida Atlantic University

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University offers opportunity for foreign direct investments to occur.

Located in South Florida, business partners at this university research park are on the doorstep to Florida Atlantic University, a research university with the newest medical school in North America, and a welcoming approach to new industry partners for joint research and collaboration.

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University maintains strong relationships with various trade and investment organizations from around the world including close ties to UK Trade & Investment. In addition, the University has, over the years, established memoranda of understanding with several UK universities.

The Research Park has an aggressive outreach programme to attract international partners for both the Park and its many technology growth company tenants. For example, the Research Park is hosting a delegation of trade commissioners from 13 South American countries to showcase the Research Park, its companies and the numerous opportunities for international partners to become engaged.

The Soft Landings Center at the FAU Research Park

Recognizing that international entrepreneurs seek to continuously expand into US markets but frequently lack the financial wherewithal for the initial investment in larger facilities and human resources, the FAU Research Park is developing a Soft Landings Center. This centre will help entrepreneurs get started in a new market, accelerate their growth and take some risk and confusion out of expansion.

Offering a centre would enable the Research Park and South Florida to capture some of the new market growth that seeks to enter that state by minimizing risks and capital investment upfront to make such a growth proposition viable.

Andrew Duffell, president and CEO of the Research Park at FAU, has seen significant growth from technology companies in the Park. “Tenants in the Research Park serving the Americas markets find our unique relationship with Florida Atlantic University to be a distinct advantage,” said Duffell. “In addition to being the only established university research park in South Florida, we also have a high concentration of on-site investment capital and business infrastructure organizations available to our companies.”

Pace plc is a good example of foreign trade investment in the Americas that has been attracted to the Research Park at FAU. With world-wide revenues of over $2 billion, Pace is engaged in the development, design and distribution of digital television technologies. The new Pace Americas corporate headquarters is located in the FAU Research Park and, from there, Pace Americas manages distribution facilities throughout the Americas. This location also provides hardware and software engineering for customized applications.

Pace Americas is an example of the benefits of foreign direct investment. Pace’s organic growth and new acquisitions bring more high paying, sustainable jobs to the region of South Florida. Pace brings fresh capital to the economy, increasing the gross national product, and brings new ideas from outside that can be a catalyst for more new ideas and technological breakthroughs. Having a partner like Pace in the Research Park offers obvious advantages to surrounding companies and, importantly, to the faculty and students at Florida Atlantic University.

“In the past seven years Pace Americas has grown to over 140 employees at the Research Park,” said Michael Pulli, president, Pace Americas, Inc. “Our company has enjoyed the many benefits of being in the Research Park and look forward to more expansion in the months ahead.”

Whether it is expansion, collaboration or the development of new markets, university research, science and tech parks across the United States offer outstanding opportunities to companies seeking to expand their horizons.

To find out more about these opportunities contact the Association of University Research Parks. AURP represents university-related parks from across the world, and features a very strong network of parks located in North America. At AURP, businesses from the UK and beyond can find out all the information they need and all the introductions they can accommodate to move forward into partnerships with various universities and parks.

Visit www.aurp.net to find out more.

American British Trade & Investment
This article was originally published in American British Trade & Investment 2012, the annual investment guidebook produced by BritishAmerican Business, the leading transatlantic organization dedicated to helping its member companies build their business on both sides of the Atlantic.

To read the full guidebook click here.
For more information about BritishAmerican Business click here.

Countries: United States
Topics: Getting Started, Operations, and R&D
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