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An End and a New Beginning for Colombian STI Park Project
The two-year journey of cooperation project in developing the master plans for capacity building of Science, Technology and Innovation Parks in Colombia funded by KOICA has ended in May 2016. The last visit of the project took place from 14-27 May for the final reporting workshop in order to share and diffuse the draft of national STI park strategy and master plans of the three regional STI parks.

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About 100 key stakeholders participated in the event that took place on May 19 in Bogota, which emphasized the importance of STI park as a key policy instrument to promote knowledge and technology transfer, bring closer the innovation actors to foster regional productive development and innovation, and to align the regional development plans with the national strategy. In addition, the role of STI parks as an integrator of the STI system and productive development system for economic development was discussed. Notable progresses have been made at both the national and regional level and at the inter-ministerial level to coordinate the efforts. One of the most significant changes that have taken in the parks has been its recognition as a regional project as it has opened its doors to bring various regional actors together for meaningful interaction and commitment.

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National STI park strategy provides an overarching framework to promote the regional initiatives. Its key components will include essential elements of STI parks in Colombian context and list the criteria and conditions of STI park to be accredited as one by an inter-ministerial committee to access both financial and non-financial support mechanisms. Master plans of the STI parks include the analysis of the framework conditions including regional economic structures, STI capacity, study on the regional strategic industry and its key technologies to prioritize, and most importantly the action plans including the vision, strategy, programs, and the management and operation plan.

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The team also met with the regional stakeholders to discuss the implementation and support needed for the success of the park. Many local and regional governments have included the STI Park as the core component of the development plan to foster innovation. Furthermore, incentives such as local tax exemption or providing special status in the territorial development plan are under development to attract companies to the STI parks. As such, political will of the regional government is essential to provide a signal for innovation actors and for the initiative to be recognized as a regional project for the benefit of all. The government of Colombia has pledged to increase the national investment on STI activities up to one percent of the GDP, from 0.5 percent in 2014.

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The project began in June 2014, with the objective of capacity building for the Colombian STI policy planning and implementation, providing support for developing master plans for three STI parks which are Biopacifico Park, Guatiguara Technology Park and Bogota STI Park, and human resources capacity building for their management and operation. It has designed the tool and established the foundation for STI parks to strive to enhance innovation to achieve regional and national development. Now, the essential part of the work is left for Colombia to put the plans and strategy into action, which STEPI will extend continuing support when needed.
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