Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Birmingham Science Park, has been elected by members of the United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA) to be its new Chairman.
Dr Hardman succeeds Dr Malcolm Parry OBE, Director of Surrey Research Park, who has been UKSPA’s Chair since September 2009.
Founded in 1984, UKSPA seeks to be recognised as the authoritative body for the planning, development and creation of Science Parks, which facilitate the management of innovative, high-growth, knowledge-based organisations.
Paul Wright, Chief Executive of UKSPA said: “David brings a wealth of experience to the role of UKSPA Chairman and will be leading a strong board at a pivotal moment for the Association. Developing our relationship with Government and other stakeholders, initiatives such as our Quality programme UKSPA ASPIRE, and delivering improved communications with our members, are all high on the Association’s agenda.
“Working with our Vice-Chair Catherine Johns and the other board members, David will bring his energy and experience as UKSPA looks forward to celebrating 30 years of support for Science Parks and other innovation centres, which provide the environment for technology firms to flourish.”
Dr David Hardman joined Birmingham Science Park in 2008 and has been instrumental in spearheading a renaissance of the 14 acre, 250,000 sq ft Park, which has just celebrated its 30th birthday. Founded in 1982, it is the UK’s third oldest science park. David’s ‘Science Park Without Walls’ initiative has been acknowledged as a fundamentally new approach to how science park’s operate – and in particular – support start-up businesses. Local entrepreneurs are connected with investors and knowledge from across the globe, irrespective of geographies, so promoting ‘borderless innovation’.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Birmingham Science Park and Chair of UKSPA said: “I believe that UK science parks and innovation centres have a crucial role to play in promoting the Knowledge Economies. They create a focal point for the aggregation of all the necessary components required to nurture tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, alongside growing and more mature tech businesses. A review of the tenants on the parks today shows that many of the young companies go on to provide new high value jobs, vital to boosting the fragile economy.
“However, at the very time our science parks need to be playing a lead role in promoting high-tech and high-growth businesses to drive economic recovery, the re-worked national and local governmental structures are not truly recognising our combined potential.
“I am committed to see UKSPA develop a more proactive voice for the science park movement. Successful science parks are a physical exemplification of the value of the Triple Helix structure; effective inter-twined activity, co-operation and collaboration between universities, the public sector and private industry.
“Over recent years, science parks and innovation centres have faced major challenges posed by the economy, as well as the changes to the national, regional and local political landscapes. Until 2011, they worked with Regional Development Authorities to secure funding for SME-directed initiatives. The Knowledge Economy coal-face, seen on each and every science park, needs to be used to ensure highly effective regional and local delivery of the small pool of essential business support programmes.
“In addition, creative solutions to nurturing and incubating tech start-ups are required and UKSPA provides a formidable network of peers to orchestrate an exchange of ideas and best practice. I am very much looking forward to working closely with the UKSPA board, in-house team and forging stronger links with Government and key organisations.”
Originally founded with eight members, UKSPA has continued to grow and now has 70 full members and 14 associate members (which include science parks in the planning stages) across the UK.