Addressing Real World Issues
Edited by Robert Stimson and Kingsley E. Haynes
Chapter 13: Technopoles: governance and networking
In Tunisia few institutions of higher education give strategic consideration to the contribution they can make to economic development in their region. The older universities focus on research mainly concerned with their international reputation and growing knowledge. These practices are beginning to change. Regional engagement is increasingly being oriented to achieving two strategies: the establishment of the knowledge society; and enhancing local economic development. The objective is to strengthen competitiveness and to consolidate regional systems of innovation. In this context, higher education is required to cooperate with other actors, including the private sector and, especially, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as local businesses. Pursuing such objectives is a new concept, and a challenge is what form such partnerships should take and how that may be formalized. What are the dynamics of the relationships that need to be developed between the university and the actors in its local environment: the city, businesses (public and private), local associations, the region, other universities? This chapter reports on a work conducted by the author investigating the scientific parks in Tunisia. It analyzes in particular the process of developing Borj Cédria technopole. Many major industrial areas of yesteryear are now obsolete, and a new paradigm of industrial development is occurring in the form of the technopole (also referred to as science parks and technology parks). This is typically a lush natural environment with no pollution, with the propensity to attract new ‘knowledge industries’ encompassing advanced engineering, and venture capital that spins off new companies (Castells and Hall, 1994; Cooke, 2001).
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