AURP Survey: Two-Thirds of North American Research Parks & Innovation Districts Report Active New Building Projects 

In conjunction with Stiletto: Make a Point, AURP’s survey findings report how research parks and innovation districts are growing and changing – 88% of parks and districts cite funding for new infrastructure as their top 2024 challenge

Tucson, AZ, and College Park, MD, March 7, 2024 – More than two-thirds of North American university-based research parks and innovation districts report they are currently building or about to start major building projects, according to new survey results from the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) and Canadian-based consulting firm, Stiletto Consulting Ltd.

These new survey findings also show nearly 88% of responding parks and districts cite funding for capital investment infrastructure as their top challenge in 2024. 

AURP, a global nonprofit membership association serving university and institutional research park communities and innovation districts, and Stiletto, a leading market research and strategic planning firm, partnered in developing and implementing this survey project.

AURP and Stiletto launched its 2023 survey of North American parks and districts in late 2023 to provide a way for the parks and districts community to better understand how parks and districts in the U.S., Canada and Mexico are growing and changing over time – plus where they are headed next.

Key survey findings:

  • 62% of U.S.-based parks / districts report accessing U.S. EDA funding programs in 2023
  • 61% of respondents report having 20-to-100 acres of land available for development in and around their campuses
  • 58% of respondents report having between 20-200 tenant organizations residing in their parks / districts (up from average of 26 resident organizations reported in 2012)
  • Per organization, represented tenant organizations employed: 41% had 1-100 employees; 39% had 100-1,000 employees; and 37% had 1,000-4,000 employees (the typical reported average was 850 per company in 2012)
  • Parks / districts have increased available programming in many areas such as incubator space (94%), networking facilitation (95%), and entrepreneurial programming (93%)

“These timely survey results demonstrate precisely how research parks and innovation districts are essential drivers of innovation, economic growth and dynamic community place-making,” said Erin Koshut, AURP President and Executive Director of Cummings Research Park. “We’re grateful to all of our survey respondents for their efforts in shaping the continued growth and prosperity of this cutting-edge Community of Innovation.”

AURP and Stiletto’s survey outreach comprised a total of 411 institutional members representing research parks and innovation districts throughout North America, with a 67% survey response rate of AURP institutional members.

“Our survey of North American research parks and innovation districts enables our dynamic community comprising research universities, entrepreneurs and developers to assess similar parks and districts for accurate benchmarking. This process not only helps in understanding current industry trends but also provides insights into future directions,” said Vickie Palmer, AURP CEO. “What’s clear from these results is that the talented people building and growing research parks and innovation districts are reshaping and energizing communities throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.”

“We’re delighted to have joined with our AURP colleagues in helping to craft this survey and analyze the results and opportunities for this incredible network for the future,” said Laura O’Blenis, President and CEO of Stiletto: Make a Point. “With its overwhelming 67% response rate, this new report will certainly spark a range of discussions and idea-sharing across the research parks and innovation districts community to drive this vital industry forward.”

The full survey findings are available here for download.

About AURP:
AURP, a non-profit international organization with offices in Tucson, Arizona, at the University of Arizona Tech Park, and the Washington, D.C. area at the University of Maryland Discovery District, focuses on creating communities of innovation and education for research parks, both operating and planned, plus innovation districts, incubators, accelerators and the businesses that support the research park industry. AURP and its global membership promote research, institute-industry relations and innovation districts to foster innovation and to facilitate the transfer of technology from such institutions to the private sector. Learn more:

About Stiletto: Make a Point:
Stiletto: Make a Point is a strategic planning and market research firm that generates meaningful, lasting impacts in organizations and communities they serve. Stiletto brings extensive experience in market intelligence, economic development, real estate, and strategic planning for innovation hubs. Working at the intersection of academia, industry, and government, Stiletto develops intentional, results-driven, and inclusive strategies that have accelerated impact for more than 200 clients in North America. Learn more:

Media Contact:
Ken Berlack, AURP
[email protected]