Earlier this year we joined our industry colleagues as official UKSPA partners at The Oxford Science Park. Liz Sparrow, Nick Hayes, and Patric Vale from Ridge engaged in the lively and meaningful debates concerning national and regional trends in UK science parks.
Here’s a summary of their top five takeaways for the future of science and technology:
- Sustainability strategy
When it comes to sustainability, most science parks are on track to when it comes to supporting their local communities and the environment. However, almost all of those we spoke to have no central strategy in place to link everything they’re doing together. This means there’s a huge opportunity for science parks to create bespoke ESG strategies which set ambitious targets for the future. They will need to prove their credentials, focusing on the green economy to attract investment, skilled talent, and like-minded tenants to the park. A comprehensive ESG framework, such as those delivered through 360 Sustainability, could be the answer.
- Housing and transport
Affordable housing and sustainable transport links are current issues in the minds of science and technology business leaders as they represent key drivers for attracting and retaining talent. Given the out-of-town nature of science parks and their locations near major cities, skilled workers often find themselves travelling significant distances to find an affordable place to live. In an industry that can’t always support ‘working from home’, science parks face the dilemma of how to attract talent – particularly for roles such as technicians and lab assistants. Affordable and accessible housing, green transport links, and enhanced public transport are all top of the list.
- Landowner collaboration
To create innovative, sustainable science parks and eliminate the ‘out-of-town’ experience, landowners need to come together, linking disparate plots of science activity. This applies to public and private sector landlords as well as local authorities. We need to connect local conurbations with a long-term vision, bringing landowners together to make science parks accessible to all.
- Intelligence sharing
The science community is proactive in sharing its knowledge and expertise. While each science park has its own future direction, there is a collaborative atmosphere with a positive approach to sharing knowledge and experiences for a collective good. The message is being heard loud and clear – it’s not an individual race to be the best, it’s all about being part of a network of learning and continuous improvement.
- Innovating for the future
It would be remiss not mention the pioneering technology that is emerging from our nation’s science parks. They are creating technology that will contribute to solving the ecology, health, and climate crises. From proton beams that will help cure cancer to green synthetic fuels, the scientists based on these parks are tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Download The Building a Future for Science and Technology Report by Ridge and Partners to find out more about the challenges and opportunities within the industry.