With Australia’s Life Sciences sector beginning to take shape, overseas experts in the field have Queensland tipped to have the right fundamentals for promoting the evolution of this sector.
David Lupson from Savills Science (UK) has made the trip to Queensland this week to review ripe markets and offer his advice on the fundamentals of a ‘science precinct’ based on his involvement and experience in crafting the Cambridge Science Park and other new science parks including those in Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
The origins of the science park
The origins of science parks date back to the early 1950s with the creation of Stanford Research Park in the USA. In 1970, Trinity College commenced development of the first UK science park in Cambridge. Following this movement a number of UK-based universities recognised that an era of integrated educational and knowledge based businesses had arrived and realised the benefits of aligning multidisciplinary research and business.
Today, Cambridge consists of 11 science parks in total; which includes the University Hospital and University & Technology based businesses to complete the full ecosystem. New generations of science parks have spread all across the UK, however Cambridge still stands out as a front runner with a value proposition that has market appeal.
According to the University, Cambridge is now Europe’s largest technology cluster, with around 57,000 people employed by more than 1,500 technology and science based firms, which have a combined annual revenue of over £13 billion.
Secrets to success
“It’s important to remember that the science sector competes on a global stage; our advice is pragmatic and evidence based using our industry experience coupled with ongoing benchmarking,” Mr Lupson said.
Mr Lupson is Europe’s most experienced commercial science park practitioner and has acted as the Development Director and Chief Operating Officer for a number of leading science park projects and bio-innovation centres across the UK.
“The first secret to the success of the Cambridge Science Park has been the relationship between individual entrepreneurs, the university and the science park operations and development team.
“The close proximity of the park to the university and teaching hospital in the city has been instrumental in both creating and feeding the businesses that reside there,” he said.
Science parks aim to enable the commercial exploitation of intellectual property by the provision of fit for purpose hard and soft infrastructure.
“The collaborative nature of the park has also helped to foster a sense of community, which the landlord has tried to maintain by including more amenities, which in turn has been crucial in attracting and retaining staff,” Mr Lupson said.
Chesterford Research Park near Cambridge bolstered its offering with the construction of the Nucleus Building, which provided a gym, restaurant, bar and conferencing facilities for its tenants.
Continuing evolution and fluidity is needed
With science and technology continuously evolving, so are the businesses which work within the field, therefore conditions for these tenants need to remain fluid.
“St John’s Innovation Park is an excellent example of how providing incubator space with flexible lease conditions gives businesses the opportunity to grow.
“It’s not uncommon to see users grow from medium size floorplate requirements to taking an entire headquarters before the end of their leases,” Mr Lupson said.
The infrastructure and transport networks around a science park also play an important role in the precinct’s mechanics.
In recent years Cambridge Science Park has seen substantial improvements to its accessibility through the provision of highway upgrades, new cycle ways and access to a guided busway. More recently the opening of a new railway station north of the city has further improved access options.
Mr Lupson will be speaking at three seminars in Queensland this week which will further educate the market on the emerging knowledge economy trends of the life sciences sector.
For more information on Life Sciences or Science Park development in Queensland, please contact Dustin Welch, Director of Savills Health Projects. Savills Health Services provides bespoke transactional and planning services for medical service professionals, developers, government and investors across all aspects of primary healthcare, research and tertiary built form.