The Surrey Research Park sets a high standard for ASPIRE as the first Science Park to undergo the UKSPA ASPIRE review process receives an outstanding report.
The Surrey Research Park is delighted with the outcome of the recent ASPIRE review process. The report revealed that the Park contributes between an estimated annual contribution to the regional economy of between £450m and £625 million¹. This has been endorsed with a recent figure from a wider study of the contribution of the Park’s host University of £1.4bn GVA annually of which the Park in 2012 contributed £450m of this addition to the economy.
In addition, the companies on the Park have been responsible for a substantial increase in employment in knowledge-based sectors of the economy in Guildford and Surrey as a whole. As a significant source of independent income for the University of Surrey, the Park’s net asset value has tripled within its 28 years in operation². The Surrey Research Park has maintained its focus on knowledge transfer, and has been described as an important part of the University of Surrey’s infrastructure, providing an entrepreneurial environment and facilities to support the commercial application of the University’s research.
The significance of the report findings for The Surrey Research Park, in underlining the achievements that it has made since 1985, was expressed by the ASPIRE reviewer for UKSPA, Charles Monck, who said, “There is little doubt that the Surrey Research Park has enhanced the image and profile of the University locally as well as nationally and internationally since its launch, and has made considerable contributions to the regional and UK economies as a whole. As one of the founding members of the UK Science Park movement, The Surrey Research Park and its team have been instrumental in helping shape and build other science and research parks in the UK and also in a number of developing countries across the globe.”
Dr Malcolm Parry, Director of the Surrey Research Park, was very satisfied with the review, the process, and its independent findings. He said, “We’re pleased with the conclusions and results from the first ASPIRE report from UKSPA. Since I started the development of the Park in 1981, we’ve been committed to contributing to the local, regional and national economy while promoting the University and UK technology innovation around the globe, and the statistics from the UKSPA’s ASPIRE programme support this. We’re heavily involved with promoting the science park model internationally with UKSPA, so we were happy to be the first Park chosen for the ASPIRE programme. Analyses like this will focus parks all over the UK, and ensure that we are driving business in a range of different sectors to maintain the UK’s reputation internationally for innovation and technology.”
ASPIRE is a new tool developed by the UK Science Park Association to provide Science Park managers and their boards with an external perspective on the performance of their Park. Reviews carried out under the ASPIRE framework, which are confidential to the commissioning member, will help to identify opportunities for and encourage and support initiatives aimed at improvement of members’ performance and effectiveness, and to the sharing of best practice. Furthermore, verified positive improvement outcomes can, subject to the agreement of the commissioning member, be formally recognised and publicised by UKSPA to the benefit of the member and the overall movement.
The Surrey Research Park was the first science park chosen to be reviewed by UKSPA in 2013 and agreed to have their findings published. The review, which took place last year, involved an in-depth analysis - including interviews and access to company documentation - by an independent reviewer to determine how successfully The Surrey Research Park had performed against its original core objectives. These objectives, set out when the Park was founded by the University of Surrey in the mid 1980’s, were related to the three key stakeholder groups: the University of Surrey, the tenants, and the County and Borough Councils, and were:
As part of the review process by ASPIRE for The Surrey Research Park, these five core objectives were rigorously examined drawing on evidence from documentation and financial reports (such as the Original Business Case, Current Business Plan, Governance Arrangements, Management Policies, Promotional Strategy, Current Occupancy, Historic [Innovation] Performance, Financial Information, Information on Local Context and Local Knowledge Economy) as well as interviews with key stakeholders, and findings were reported against each objective to highlight best practice and development areas.