6 Pages

Science parks and hi-tech

In the 1970s there was considerable interest in the growth of computer based high-technology industry. Interest centred on the idea of technology transfer whereby university-based research, particularly in electronics and biotechnology, could be transferred to industry and turned into economic growth. The model was California, where the electronic engineering department of Stanford University had spawned a whole shoal of new companies nearby. It was at Stanford, south of San Francisco, that Hewlett met Packard and set up in business in what was to become known as Silicon Valley. The success of Silicon Valley was due as much to the attitude and calibre of the teaching staff at Stanford as to the brains and enterprise of their students. Interchange between the university and the surrounding small companies was encouraged to mutual benefit. The graduates in their fledgling businesses benefited from technical advice and possibly even the use of the university’s equipment. In return they offered the university an opportunity for the latest ideas to be tested in open market conditions.