The creation of the first science and technology parks took place by the great development undergone by the technologies of the information in second half of century XX. The paradigm of the parks is without doubt the Valley Silicone in California.
The success of the first projects caused that the model moved to all the places of the world. At the moment several thousand of parks lay out all the world-wide geography and Spain is without doubt one of the most representative countries of the world in the development of these projects.
The importance of the Spanish science parks and technology is in which they concentrate the private R&D of the regions where they are located, perhaps excepting the cases of Madrid and Barcelona and are encounter places between science and company. For this reason, one of the great objectives facing the future of the parks is to obtain that encounter is translated in a greater investment in mainly private R+D.
In addition, the Parks play a role of very remarkable interface, accelerating the processes of transference of technology between the diverse agents of the System and making possible the creation and the fast growth of new technology based company and research centers, key pieces to obtain the wished technological convergence with Europe of our national system of Innovation.
Making a review by history of the Spanish science and technology parks, we have three stages:
On the other hand, in the last years, the independent communities are playing a very important role in the creation of parks and its fortification. For this reason, it is arising numerous networks from parks in the Independent Communities.
Autonomous regions were the pioneers at the time of betting by the parks and thanks to them the first parks were created between half-full of the 80 and principles of the 90.
They were the promoters of these parks and have caused that the economic panorama changes completely in its regions with the creation of these new spaces.
Fruit of the positive results of the installation of a park in a determined zone, has appeared another type of promoters: the city councils, universities or even private companies.
Nevertheless, the Spanish regional policies are very active and are creating regional networks of parks to form their regional systems of innovation.
First they were the País Vasco, with his Network of Basque Parks. A network strongly connected: the president of the network is the president of the parks, but regardless of its members, they are different companies.
In the network of Castilla y León a unique company manages the parks created by the autonomous region.
In Catalonia the network arises from down, the parks, upwards, the administration. The network weakly is connected from the autonomic point of view and its member.
The case Andalucía also is different. The network can be considered weak and strongly connected, the members are constituted around an association without profit spirit that finances the autonomic government completely and through her it realises many of his policies.
In Valencia the new network of scientific parks can be similar to the case Andalucía. Also it is promoted by the regional government. Madrid also creates a network similar to the one of Valencia.
All these so rich examples in the generation of new opportunities to design regional of innovation to each other and so diverse systems, must make us reflect on the paper that the parks have to play in the future like nodes of systems in network that help us to transform the Spanish system of innovation.
During the starting phase of the history of the parks, the Association of Science and Technology Parks of Spain is created and is located in the Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía. It is constituted in 1989 by the managers of the 6 first parks that arose in Spain.
Since its constitution 20 years ago, the Association of Science ant Technology Parks of Spain has always worked with a clear objective: to convert science and technology parks into key elements of the Spanish innovation system.
To do so, the Association has development an extensive system of networks, each of which has different objectives but with the same common outlook. In this sense, the APTE has a network of experienced parks managers, another which works with professionals involved in technology transfer among these parks and their companies, and another managed by APTE´s office of technology transfer (OTRI) responsible for establishing contacts between the scientific world and business community and which works in close collaboration with professionals in the Parks.
Through these three networks we have installed an ingenious innovation system in the Parks transforming knowledge into wealth, and knowledge.
Over these 20 years of experience we have helped bring about a boom in the creation of Technology Parks in Spain. It has been demonstrated that the construction of a technology park in a region gives a major boost to the local economy, and that is why 17 autonomous regions already have at least one Technology park.
This boost generally means an increase in the number of jobs (the majority of which are highly skilled), improvements in the quality of the same, revitalisation of business sectors, attraction of capital, creation of technology – base companies, increase investments in Research and Development (R&D), a general diversification of the economy and the development of a network of service companies for the Park which radically changes the initial structure of the local economy.
The past legislature was very fruitful for the development of the science and technology parks thanks to the Order of aid for projects of I+D+i realised in science and technology parks. From 2005 to 2007, with this order were granted aid by almost to 1,000 million of financing for an investment superior to 1,400 million Euros in infrastructures and projects of R+D made by companies and by other organizations within the parks.
The effects of these aid in the parks we can verify in the increases that were registered in the following indicators of the parks during period 2005 - 2007, reflected in the following table: