University research parks usually house technology-based organisations or companies that are looking to benefit from the university’s research and knowledge base. The university facilitates technology transfer by hosting the research park. Technology transfer is not only beneficial for the participants (e.g., the park could house university start-ups), but it also provides opportunities for faculty and students for entrepreneurial science. If technology transfer results in economic growth, it is a win-win situation for the region and the community.
Research parks were established rapidly in the mid-1980s. Currently, many are under planning. There are currently 81 universities that have research parks, with another 27 in Jean Chen University of Toronto development. Research parks are often centered on biosciences or information technology.
It isn’t clear how research parks can contribute to economic development. The growth of employment in research parks has been the only factor that has been examined. This is about 8.4% for the life of a park. The public sector funded approximately 70% of the initial park cost. This means that 50% of the parks were funded with public funds. Many research parks house activities not related university research and/or development. These parks serve as real estate offices for universities, and rent income.
American research universities have a history that is entwined with the rise in science and technology in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries. Although the nature and character if those connections has changed greatly over time, they have been deepened and sustained since the passage in 1862 of the Morrill Land Grant Act. American universities were once a part of private foundations and philanthropic foundations. In some ways they became wards of the state. The American research university was busy reforming its social relations, its place in America’s intellectual and institutional ecology. American researchers in the university tried to create new sources for support to complement declining government support for university-based science, engineering, and technology.