Utrecht Science Park: a flourishing, innovative ecosystem

Utrecht Science Park is the beating heart of knowledge and high-end technology in Utrecht Region. It is also the largest and fastest growing science park in the Netherlands.

14 March 2022 7 minutes

Ten knowledge institutions and 130 R&D companies, half of which are start-ups, are based here and are primarily active in life sciences and health (LSH) and sustainability. Together with a community of 51,000 students, industry pioneers create solutions for healthier and more sustainable living.

We asked Friso Smit, new business development manager at the Utrecht Science Park Foundation, to tell us more.

Frisco says: “Companies, researchers, clinicians and students work together on ground-breaking science in this inspiring hotspot to accelerate innovation.”

What are the core activities of the Utrecht Science Park Foundation?

“There is a tremendous amount of expertise at Utrecht Science Park along with brilliant infrastructure and skilful talent. As the Utrecht Science Park Foundation, we support interaction and stimulate cooperation and knowledge exchange between institutions and innovative companies, not least by sharing stories of scientific achievements, business development activities and organising events such as Utrecht Science Park Cafés.

“The foundation also creates optimal conditions for new and established businesses looking to set up or expand their R&D operations at Utrecht Science Park. Together, we can provide a fertile breeding ground for the discovery, design and development of sustainable solutions that contribute to healthy living in healthy environments. By implementing innovations locally, we can add societal and economic value to the region.”

Why is the science park focused on LSH and sustainability?

“Many knowledge institutions and R&D companies active in the field of life sciences and health have found their way to Utrecht Science Park. There is Utrecht University, for example, including the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, as well as the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the HU University of Applied Sciences, the Hubrecht Institute, Danone Nutricia Research and Genmab.

“All these institutes and R&D companies are just a short walk away from each other, which makes it possible to quickly transform research into solutions. This allows businesses to apply innovations directly to patients – both humans and animals – which in turn establishes a closed-loop value chain.

“In addition, expertise in the area of sustainability continues to develop, partly thanks to vital research by Utrecht University and HU University of Applied Sciences. Within and between these institutes, topics related to ‘one health’ and ‘future food’ have flourished. The combination of life sciences and health and sustainability ties in closely with the regional proposition of healthy urban living and allows us to support valuable innovation.”

Why is it beneficial for companies to establish themselves at Utrecht Science Park?

“Companies located here are fluent in the language of science. They quickly and easily interact with researchers and students. The openness of such communication helps accelerate innovation, making the science park a powerful ecosystem for national and international companies to join in with their R&D activities.

“There is no other place in Europe where so many knowledge institutions are located within walking distance of each other, all working together with businesses on major challenges in life sciences and health and sustainability. A form of cross-pollination has been established, which evidently works perfectly at Utrecht Science Park.”

Could you tell us more about the expansion plans for Utrecht Science Park?

“In 2023, a 23,000 m2 multitenant R&D building will be completed. It will provide modern workspaces for LSH scale-ups. A second multitenant building is expected to follow in 2024.

“Together with Utrecht University, University Medical Centre Utrecht and Utrecht municipality – the landowners of Utrecht Science Park – we are exploring additional long-term development opportunities for R&D companies. Our ambition is to add 160,000 m2 of space for private R&D activities over the next 10 to 15 years, further expanding the ecosystem and allowing innovation to flourish.”

Don’t miss any business news from Utrecht Region!