The Value of Science Parks

by Lars-Goran Larsson on November 17, 2014

imageOn November 5th. I had the opportunity to attend the international symposium The Value of Science Parks at Mjärdevi Science Park in Linköping. Swedish and international speakers contributed to forming The Linköping declaration together with other attendees.

In the declaration six factors that contribute to a successful science park are described. These factors also constitutes the grounds for the values created by the science parks. The six agreed factors are:

  1. Business development support – commercialization of innovation and stimulating growth in new and existing companies
  2. Attractiveness – communication to attract talent, ideas, capital, R&D and companies 
  3. Networking – be a facilitator and provide social hubs for academia and industry
  4. Open innovation – adding value to companies by offering a platform for innovation and co–creation
  5. Smart specialization – enhancing and facilitating smart specialization processes in key sectors 
  6. Internationalization – attracting foreign companies as well as supporting our local companies to go global

clip_image002The declaration was signed during the event by Luis Sanz (left in the picture), Director General, of IASP, the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation, and Magnus Lundin (right in the picture), CEO of SISP, the Swedish Incubators and Science Parks organisation.

Below is a link to The Linköping declaration document:


The symposium focused on various aspects of the future development of science parks within areas such as investors/venture capital, companies in various stages of development, incubators, project arenas/open innovation, national nodes, international trends in the science park industry, the role of property owners, the relationship to other innovative hot-spots, forms of student collaboration, the importance of policy and university collaboration.

In my experience from our practise in Bearing, an innovation district, like a 3G science park, is designed for multi-use and is thereby integrated into the city’s “heart and soul”. A functioning innovation environment  also involve culture and recreation and will ultimately become the central hub of the city life, cross road for transportation and an infrastructural hot-spot. This creates demands for housing and commercial buildings, driving land values and bringing prosperity to the city. All together these are tangible examples of values for cities and societies created by science parks. One of the best examples is the 22@ district in Barcelona which we have worked with and wrote about in this article.

One section of the symposium, that particularly caught my attention, was the speech given by the Municipal Commissioner of Linköping, Christian Gustavsson, where he emphasised the values Mjärdevi Science Park has brought to the city. If you design the park to become a function of the city rather than focus on its location it brings opportunity for growth and it supports the talented minds of the city. This attracts both people and businesses. Gustavsson´s speech can be seen in the video below.

Christian Gustavsson on the value of science parks

Facts about Mjärdevi Science Park

Mjärdevi Science Park, closely connected to the Linköping University, is an attractive home for 260 innovative companies employing more than 6,100 people. Mjärdevi offers a broad base of innovation support, activities and networks to encourage and stimulate growth and success among its companies — from start-ups to multi-nationals. Mjärdevi is located in Linköping in East Sweden. This region of nearly a half-million people and 13 municipalities is Sweden’s 4th largest metropolitan area. The region’s borders are within an hour and a half from Stockholm on Sweden’s east coast and just two and a half hours from Gothenburg on the west coast.

The park offers a stimulating and innovative developing environment for knowledge-intensive companies. Regardless of a company’s size or stage of development, Mjärdevi offers access to experienced and professional business advice, finance, and internationalisation and of course the innovation links to the University.

clip_image004


Facts and numbers:

  • Area: 70 hectares
  • Business premises: 190,000 m2
  • No. of businesses: approx 250
  • Employees: 6,100

The largest residents of Mjärdevi Science Park are Ericsson, Releasy, IFS, Sectra, Lawson, Combitech and Logica. Major multinationals such as Google-Motorola, Flextronics, Autoliv and Toyota Industries are also strongly represented.

Examples of Mjärdevi Science Park World-class competences

  • · Mobile Broadband
  • · Imaging & Visualization
  • · Automotive Safety
  • · Software & Systems Development

About Lars-Goran Larsson :

Lars-Göran Larsson, Senior Advisor in Bearing, resides in Sweden and consults internationally. He has spent most of his career in executive positions in the private corporate sector and in the cross-roads of public-private partnerships.

The last ten years he has specialised in assignments that involves design and implementation of holistically coherent national, regional and local innovation based growth systems. At present, implementation of Europe´s innovation strategy Horizion 2020 is high on his agenda.

His work includes assignments for national and regional governments and Innovation Hubs in Europe, Middle East and Africa with establishment of innovation systems for incubators & accelerators and science parks & clusters integrated with extensive SME development programs and funding. The methodology applied is anchored in the Quad Helix model, which constitutes an extension and refinement of the traditional Triple Helix model. It coordinates context management in collaboration between the public and private sectors, academia and civil society.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

S Y Choi December 22, 2014 at 08:33

Do you have experience doing cost benefit analysis on science parks anywhere?

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