Benchmark report - European Science Parks* Lecluyse, L. (2019). Opening up the black box of science park effectiveness (Doctoral dissertation, Ghent University). Benchmark - Denmark, Spain and Belgium.
Comments from Aalborg Mayor Thomas Kastrup Larsen and CEO Henrik Lundum in this talk
Benchmark report - European Science Parks - NOVI ranks highest
In a newly released Benchmark Report, Novi Science Park in North Denmark scores highest on most parameters. Compared to other Science Parks, both Danish and foreign, the report demonstrates a reason to be proud. NOVI Science Park is doing so well that it is close to fulfilling its own vision.
One of the country’s most innovative Science Parks is located in Aalborg. This Science Park has, with the right ingredients, created an environment which allows innovation, network and visionary ideas to grow.
A lifespan of 30 years and more than 220 companies which share knowledge and address every day proves that the recipe for NOVI works. Now a new report provides clear evidence that the environment has a significant impact on those who this is all about - the tenants of NOVI.
CEO Henrik Lundum explains:
“After all, the most important thing is what our tenants experience and what the value is for them to run a business and share knowledge in an environment like NOVI.
Our vision is to be one of Europe's leading knowledge-based business platforms from where a business can start, grow and succeed. This vision is only worthwhile if we are constantly able to adapt the environment to our tenants; if we are able to develop according to their needs and provide a definition of what this exactly means for the tenants.
This is precisely why the report is of great importance to us - it tells us that we are on the right track and that NOVI has a reliable basis for contributing significantly to the development of technology and knowledge in Denmark.”
It is just as if NOVI's vision for the progress of the tenants at NOVI "From good to great" fits NOVI's own development over the years. What is the reason for this success?
“For the past three or four years, we have deliberately worked towards an "open door policy". All in order to encourage the tenants to meet each other in the corridors, seek working relationships instead of ‘working in silos’, and more so, we have made a great effort to make ourselves, as employees of NOVI, more open and service-minded towards our tenants.”
A research- and development environment which supports companies throughout the formation process is one thing, but when we look at it from a broader perspective, there may be others than the tenants who is able to notice a positive and contagious effect. What role does research- and development environments like NOVI play in a societal perspective?
“I believe that research- and development environments such as NOVI foster companies out of the university, meaning from research and bring them out into the real world. Where research would normally take place within the walls of the university, we help to bring it outside university and create companies which are able to grow and create additional jobs in the local environment”, says Henrik Lundum.
Mayor Thomas Kastrup Larsen explains;
We develop the municipality jointly, and the municipality focuses on, in cooperation with all the other partners, business houses and NOVI as a Science Park, how we can accomplish the task and make the whole ecosystem work. In this way, we develop NOVI jointly. NOVI is an inseparable part of Aalborg - but at the same time NOVI is gradually becoming an inseparable part of the whole of Denmark.
Thomas Kastrup Larsen continues:
Many jobs and international vibrations contribute to the city and the municipality due to the fact that we see a great number of international companies setting up their business at NOVI. This has a contagious effect on the whole of Aalborg and on the region in general, creating progress, growth and international vibes.
The report demonstrates NOVI's great results and contains a number of questions which help draw a picture of what is crucial for companies in a research- and development environment. At the same time, it provides a pulse-feel on some of the key parameters that contribute to whether or not a business thrives. NOVI's CEO Henrik Lundum highlights several points in the analysis which may be good benchmarks for NOVI in the future;
One of the parameters we are really pleased to learn the result of is the "intention to leave". This question is designed to find out if we have a significant risk of tenants moving from NOVI. In fact, here we score, by far, the best of all with a fairly low number, which is proof that once a tenant is settled, NOVI demonstrate it’s good qualities, resulting in a low number of moving-outs.
Another interesting parameter is the score on “ability to collaborate and communicate with other companies”, i.e. among tenants. It has always been our belief that people from Northern Jutland were somewhat characterized as being a little reserved and reluctant in reaching out to others, but on this parameter, we are far better than the south European countries for example and in fact, I think we fail to appreciate exactly how good we are in Northern Jutland.
There is a third parameter where NOVI score highest; cooperation with the university/knowledge experience. Obviously, NOVI was established in order to support Aalborg University, so for us, it is a special key parameter that we are able to demonstrate this ability in the real world as well.
In a broader societal perspective, there is great potential in supporting cross-border co-operations, making new knowledge and research more easily accessible to companies, for example within in the field of green transition, technology and healthcare. Many reports indicate that it requires a rapid switch of new knowledge and technology into concrete solutions and an approach where several players join forces in the development of many activities, resulting in so-called many-to-many innovation.
Thomas Kastrup Larsen explains;
Aalborg University has been elected Denmark's best university in terms of cooperation with the business community. We are extremely happy and proud of that. First of all, because it means a lot to the development of the workplaces in our municipality and in our part of the country. The fact that the university has a good working relationship with companies creates both value and jobs. Furthermore, it breaks new ground – inspiring others. It is easy to access the research which is available here, and it is clear that students and researchers easily can collaborate with companies - so in that way, this is vitally important for us.
The mayor continues;It also brings focus to the fact that there are many others who can be part of our international environment, and in this way contributing to the increase of value for their businesses, bringing about new research or whatever they desire to work with. Thus, the recognition and documentation of how good we are is actually something I think we can use to attract more growth to Northern Jutland, and thereby contribute to more knowledge and value for the whole of Europe.