Leiden Bio Science Park acclaimed best business park in the Netherlands
On 8 October, the Leiden Bio Science Park won the Menzis award for the Best Business Park 2009. The jury particularly praised the fact that 25 years ago when the park was founded, the choice was made in favour of the biomedical life sciences, a specialisation still successful today.
This year, the Leiden Bio Science Park celebrates its 25-year anniversary. Director of the Leiden Bio Science Park Foundation, Nettie Buitelaar, regards the award as an enormous encouragement to continue along the present lines. Since 1984 the park has evolved to become the largest biomedical life science specialist park in the Netherlands. The Science Park has some 60 companies, from stock exchange -isted multinationals to young start-ups engaged in the development of innovative medicines, therapies and medical equipment.
Leiden Councillor Marc Witteman commented: ‘This is, of course, the dream of every councillor for Economic Affairs. For 25 years, many people from Leiden University, entrepreneurs, researchers and the council, too, have put a lot of energy into developing the Leiden Bio Science Park. We were already the biggest life science cluster in the Netherlands and number 5 in Europe. From today we can add that we are the best business park in the Netherlands. That this is all happening in Leiden, City of Discoveries, is just fantastic.'
For the University, too, the choice of the Leiden Bio Science Park as the best of its kind is good news. This is where many of Leiden's scientific discoveries are turned into products that enter the market - and society.
Willem te Beest, Vice-President of the Executive Board of Leiden University, is delighted. 'I count the work of the Bio Science Park among the best activities to take place on ground area belonging - largely - to the University. I am proud to be chairman of the Bio Science Park Foundation.’ The Bio Science Park Foundation is the organisation responsible for the development of the BioScience Park. The University is represented in this body, along with the Municipality of Leiden, the LUMC and other local and regional stakeholders.
Adam Cohen, Director of the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) located on the Bio Science Park, says: ‘As one of the original companies on the Leidse Bio Science Park, we congratulate the park on being awarded this prize. More than anywhere else, Leiden understands that a science park can only flourish if it has a cohesive policy. The wish for the future is that this policy will be continued into the longer term.'
A total of 121 business parks took part in the competition for the Best Business Park in the Netherlands. In the Existing Business Parks category, the Leiden Bio Science Park was competing against the Moerdijk Industry Park and the Borchwerg Business Park in Roosendaal.There prizes were presented by Jérôme Verhagen, Director of NV Industriebank Liof, during the National Business Park Conference in Venlo.
The jury nominated Leiden as the best existing business park because 25 years ago - in a period when segmentation had not yet been 'discovered' - the decision was taken to specialise in the biomedical life sciences. This was a daring choice, that has been consistently maintained. Only life science-related companies may be located on the park, which can result in some difficult choices. A firm line has ensured that the park has developed into a strongly specialised cluster, of which businesses are keen to be a part.