Economic network

promote innovation in a European network of science parks

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Science parks are areas designed to advance technological innovation by connecting businesses, knowledge and research institutes like universities and government networks and organizations with each other. Today, the growing networks of science parks across Europe offer unique business opportunities and fruitful international partnerships.

Traditionally, life science companies often operated as silos, where there was little dialogue and collaboration between and within companies. However, after recognizing that silos can limit advances and business success, companies and academic institutions have begun to form partnerships to break this trend. Today, science parks, also known as research parks, technology parks, and innovation centers, break down silo structures even further.

Science parks provide office, laboratory and meeting space for new and established companies working in a range of different science and technology fields. A science park is typically managed by a group of specialists who coordinate the flow of knowledge and technology between members of the science park community.

One of the objectives of these services is to stimulate open innovation – collaboration between members of the science park who would otherwise not be so easily connected to each other. Exchanging ideas and resources in this way can lead to new or improved products and services.

An evolving ecosystem

Science parks have traditionally operated on a local or regional scale. However, this is changing as potential tenants of science parks are increasingly aware of the benefits that international collaborations can bring. At the same time, science parks are developing their international networks in different economic sectors to meet the changing needs of their tenants.

“We tell science park tenants that we can make them more efficient by offering them modern, flexible facilities adapted to their needs”, says Tom Straeter, Senior Ecosystem Manager at Kadans Science Partner, a real estate company with longstanding expertise in developing life science incubators.

Tom Straeter, Senior Ecosystem Manager at Kadans Science Partner

But beyond that, our tenants have access to our extensive international network. Here they can meet many other R&D organizations and service providers, who can help them overcome challenges and drive innovation forward,” Straeter elaborates.

For science park tenants, this means they are part of a collaborative community that is greater than the sum of its parts. These interconnected networks of organizations created by science parks are known as innovation ecosystems.

In such an ecosystem, companies share their services, knowledge and skills with each other. By pooling their collective resources in this way, companies can find themselves on the path to partnerships and discoveries that might not have formed otherwise. Moreover, ecosystems, especially international ones, offer more services and opportunities to tenants than any of its subsidiaries could offer alone.

Collaboration between campuses

While science parks traditionally operated within their region or city, today science park tenants can access and be part of a wider European network. Additionally, not only are landlords renting facilities to their tenants, but they are now actively connecting tenants with potential collaborators within the network.

“The Kadans Science Partner network has grown rapidly in recent years. Today, it consists of over 400 tenants, which are primarily knowledge-intensive organizations. Our tenants are spread across 25 science parks, campuses and innovation districts across Europe,” Straeter said. “We can establish connections between all these hotspots.

Importantly, connecting organizations in this way can also lead to cross-disciplinary collaborations.

“Our network is made up of several economic sectors. We can find out which life sciences tenant is able or interested in collaborating with a high-tech tenant or a renewable energy tenant, for example,” Straeter elaborates.

“Most of the time, collaborations arising from a science park ecosystem are not planned, they are the result of serendipity. This is often the case within our network,” explains Strater. “We often see that a tenant is looking for a collaboration, but does not yet know which organization in the ecosystem they should be connected to.”

Science parks can lead to short-term and long-term collaborations, depending on the project in question.

“Sometimes we connect an R&D tenant with an intellectual property consulting firm, or with a recruitment agency in order to attract new talent to their company. These are short term projects. Straeter said. “But we have also set up more technical and scientifically complex innovation projects. Usually, an innovation project takes years.

Manage the ecosystem

A key asset that Kadans Science Partner offers its tenants is the ecosystem managers, who have a different expertise than the company’s real estate-focused commercial managers. At Kadans, ecosystem managers have a deep understanding of their tenants and what they are looking for in a collaboration. Ecosystem managers use this expertise to build meaningful connections between tenants.

“The role of ecosystem managers is to connect tenants in person,” Straeter explains. “This spring, we appointed an Ecosystem Manager for High Tech, Stephanie Riffo – you can also call her Business Development Manager.”

“She talks to our corporate tenants and connects them with other great collaboration partners in our community,” Straeter said.

An important additional tool for connecting tenants across Kadans’ European network is the company’s online platform.

“The online platform is a vast catalog of tenants from the Kadans community”, says Straeter. “It helps organizations connect with each other and access all the additional ecosystem services we provide. »

Kadans Innovation Summit

A summit for innovation

To further facilitate communication and collaboration between tenants, Kadans Science Partner also organizes networking events for its tenants. Recently, the company held its first annual in-person Innovation Summit in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The Kadans Innovation Summit featured keynote presentations, workshops and networking opportunities that brought together members of the European Kadans ecosystem.

“The Kadans Innovation Summit brings together the entire European Kadans community,” says Straeter. “Tenants of the 25 science parks can meet in person and hear inspiring stories from other members of the Kadans community.”

The triple helix

An essential part of the innovation taking place in the European Kadans ecosystem network is through the triple helix. Referring to the collaboration between companies, research institutes and government agencies, the triple helix can pave the way for innovative ideas: scientific discoveries and technological advances from a laboratory can be developed into a product and enter more easily in the market.

“At Kadans, we are aware of the value that the triple helix brings to the innovative impact of our European ecosystem network”, Straeter said. “We pay a lot of attention to the composition of our community. It is extremely important that both commercial enterprises and knowledge and research institutions are represented.

A European network

Science parks have already played a key role in promoting innovation around the world. As the trend established by Kadans Science Partner towards international networking continues, we may see even more exciting science and technology products and services enter the market.

Would you like to join the European Kadans ecosystem? Look for opportunities here!

Images courtesy of Kadans Science Partner and Shutterstock.