Utrecht Science Park is the largest science park in the Netherlands. Its concentration of knowledge acts as a magnet, with employee numbers rapidly increasing despite the recent economic depression. The expansion of the Science Park continues to attract new companies and knowledge institutions, of which the latest was presented today: the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology.
This information has emerged from a report by Buck Consultants International, which investigates campuses and science parks once every four years on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Dutch cities of knowledge. The report identifies Utrecht Science Park as by far the largest science park in the Netherlands, whose knowledge institutions, care institutes and companies employ over 26,000 staff (this figure has meanwhile exceeded 27,000).
Such large science parks and campuses constitute significant economic value. Since 2014, there has been a 22% increase in the total number of companies and jobs at the ten top campuses and science parks. The fact that all campuses and science parks see a much stronger growth in employment than the municipalities where they are situated means that these places of business are in great demand.
Utrecht Science Park clearly has this magnetic effect as well, attracting not only company research & development departments but also new knowledge institutions such as RIVM. There has been a rapid increase in employee numbers at the Science Park because of fast-growing companies, such as Merus, Genmab and GendX, as well as the Princess Máxima Center and its staff of 800.
Director of the Utrecht Science Park Foundation Jan Henk van der Velden hails the report as a confirmation of the huge potential of the campus. Van der Velden does see further opportunities to grow the number of company jobs, however. 'R&D companies are crucial for translating theoretical knowledge into products and services that provide solutions for major social issues. Consequently, the aim is to create several thousand extra corporate R&D jobs at the Science Park. Achieving this ambition will depend among other things on the construction of new laboratory buildings such as the new Accelerator building, for which a preliminary design has already been prepared.'
The report's recommendations for Utrecht Science Park serve as support for Van der Velden to impress the importance of its accessibility on municipality, province and especially the Dutch government.
New technologies in life sciences and sustainability being developed at the Utrecht Science Park could herald important breakthroughs – in the fight against cancer, for example. The Science Park is the beating heart of one of Europe's most competitive regions. Here, knowledge institutions, research institutes and companies all collaborate intensively to develop new solutions that enable people to live longer and healthier lives.
Utrecht Science Park
Credits: Robert Oosterbroek