The National Research Council of the National Academies today released the Academies' new report, Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, at the U.S. Capital. Senator Mark Pryor, D-AR gave opening remarks.

Senator Pryor is sponsoring Senate Bill 583, which provides support for  the development and construction of research and science parks to promote the clustering of innovation through high technology activities. Co-sponsors of S. 583 are Senator Lamar Alexander, R-TN, Senator Richard J. Durbin, D-IL, Senator Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Senator Olympia J. Snowe, R-ME.

The National Resource Council report details findings from a symposium held in 2008 spotlighting park's contributions to government missions and commercializing university research.  It highlights the broad range of S&T parks, including both university- and laboratory-based parks as well as large scale industrial models.  Additionally, it reflects the strategies devised by a number of European and Asian countries to develop S&T parks.  While recognizing the diversity of objectives and the differences in scope and scale of activity, the report identifies common challenges faced by S&T parks both in the U.S. and abroad, including evaluation and the need for appropriate metrics.

"There is strong interest in high growth clusters and S&T Parks and appropriate policy support here in the United States, an interest mirrored in the rapid growth and government support for S&T parks around the world. This report is thus both timely and a potentially important contribution to policy making," remarked Dr. Charles Wessner, Director, Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship, National Research Council.

Brian Darmody, Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development, University of Maryland, and incoming President of AURP, remarked that "research, science and tech parks are crucial components of a national innovation strategy, which the U.S. clearly needs to formulate. This report clarifies the critical elements of such a strategy."