The Wageningen business and science park BSPW should become part of Wageningen Campus, concludes Holland Food Ventures in a study on the future of the industrial estate in the west of Wageningen. But Wageningen University & Research does not want to go that far.
One of the businesses at Business and Science Park Wageningen is biotechnology company KeyGene. Photo Guy Ackermans
The BSPW (formerly the Agro Business Park) is in a downwards spiral. There are a lot of empty premises, the space that is available does not match the demands of the market and there is no vision of the future. The BSPW also faces strong competition from the business centre Plus Ultra on the campus. At the behest of the municipal council, Holland Food Ventures got all the stakeholders around the table to look for a solution.
According to HFV, the solution is obvious: create a single campus with one organization responsible for the profiling, strategy and development of business activities. That would be good for the further development of the campus as well. The park would be called Campus West, while the existing campus would be known as Campus East.
Petra Caessens, manager of campus development at WUR, is in favour of closer collaboration in order to profile Wageningen better as a good location for new companies. ‘But setting up a single organization for both parks goes a step too far. That would mean WUR would relinquish its say on part of its own campus. I don’t see that happening.’ So Caessens does not see a future for a Campus East. ‘It is possible that BSPW will be called Campus West but that doesn’t automatically mean this will be Campus East. We will still be called simply Wageningen Campus.’ Better collaboration should be possible, she believes, without a far-reaching merger.
BSPW was started in the 1980s – by WUR among others – to market Wageningen knowledge. That never really got off the ground. There are few starters who came from WUR in the business park, and there are hardly any links with the campus, according to the report. The arrival of Plus Ultra on the campus drew away some of the companies at the BSPW.