The Kent Science Park (KSP) senior management team was recently invited to Holland to be the keynote speakers at the Dutch Science Park Symposium. Held across two days at sites in Utrecht and Amsterdam, the event was an opportunity for science parks from across Holland to meet and share knowledge and best practice.
Kent Science Park was singled out to deliver the keynote speech, due to the park’s established experience in securing private funds from within the real estate sector. In Holland, science parks rely heavily on public sector funding from universities; however, much like in the UK and the rest of Europe, there is only a finite amount of this funding available. Delegates at the event were keen to hear how they could secure more commercial investment.
Kent Science Park’s Site Director James Speck and Head of Business Development Richard Wheeler both attended the event on the 21st and 22nd November and jointly delivered the keynote speech. James spoke about the trip:
“It was a huge honour to be invited to speak at the symposium, especially as it highlighted that our colleagues in Europe are recognising, that here in the UK, we’re doing something right, and specifically in Kent at KSP.
“One of the things that I found interesting is that the scientific community in Holland is pushing to forge stronger links between the university science parks, business and institutional investors, so that all three work in tandem – this is exactly the approach the UK Government is also pursuing and the evidence suggests we are further advanced.”
Richard also commented:
“In Holland, universities have a lot of control over science parks, but obviously their priorities are different and they don’t always share the same agendas. Because of this, parks are looking to unlock funding from the private sector, in order to drive business forward.
“There were over 50 representatives from science parks and universities across Holland, and what was clear was that they wanted to try and adapt their business model so that it was similar to what Kent Science Park has already been doing. It was a tremendous opportunity for us to share best practice and explain what has been so successful about our approach so far.”