The role of science parks in promoting and supporting tenant firms to be innovative and competitive with particular reference to the case of Thailand

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

There is a growing policy need in many countries for improvements in the innovativeness and competitiveness of business enterprises. This is reflected in a recent shift of emphasis from resource-based growth to knowledge-based growth. One result of this policy trend has been growth in the belief that science and technology park projects can provide a vehicle for the emergence of innovative enterprises and for the implementation of the triple helix innovation system - the engagement among government, universities, and industry. In Thailand, this prompted the establishment of science parks, with the first regional science park, the Northern Thailand Science Park (NSP), launched in 2018. What is unclear - and what has yet to be probed - is how such policy initiatives have helped promote the development of innovative and competitive enterprises, and why some firms choose to be located within these science parks. In this thesis, these questions are explored, based on the combined experiences of 22 tenant firms in the NSP through a questionnaire-based survey and face to-face interviews using quantitative and quantitative methods. In this study, the provision of space, utility and facilities is found to be what matters most for the majority of tenant firms who decide to join the NSP by creating an eco-system that encourages tenants to support each other by sharing knowledge and experiences, which can result in new ideas and the emergence of venture companies. Firms agreed the services they received from the NSP were helpful in achieving better results in terms of innovative and competitive performance than would be the case if they had not joined the park. In the longer term, firms believe that the NSP can incubate and continue to support them as they evolve as competitive enterprises. It is also found that the science parks respond to the learning needs of younger start-up firms, supported by firms that have been long in residence in the park. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are found to be more likely than larger and/or older enterprises to develop innovative inputs. This study also finds that the provision of infrastructure and facility (INFA) and prospecting of market opportunities (MAOP) by the park have significant positive influence on the expected innovative performance/ innovative output of tenant firms. On the basis of findings of this study, bolstered by the experiences across other countries covered in the literature, it can be argued that science parks have an important role to play as intermediary agency integrating tenant firms into the triple helix system of innovation. This is supported by the results of both the quantitative and qualitative analyses of the survey data. The science park ecosystem - and its triple helix underpinning - provide favourable conditions for triggering interactions among tenant firms to learn from specialised knowledge and experiences that can be accessed via the science park platform as long as they are well managed.
Date of Award23 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorGirma Zawdie (Supervisor), Chris White (Supervisor) & Elsa João (Supervisor)

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