A vibrant and bustling university where robust academe-industry partnerships fuel research and innovation and foster a knowledge development ecosystem. Modern infrastructure, world-class learning facilities, and cutting-edge laboratories that produce a high concentration of talent. Agile and highly efficient operational processes that promote high productivity and efficient management of resources.
These are images of a university that UPLB aspires to be, one that can anticipate and adapt quickly to change and disruptions. Will this remain a pipe dream amid scarce resources? It could, but not if the UPLB Agro-Industrial Park-Information Technology Park (AIP-ITP) comes to fruition.
AIP-ITP is located within the UPLB special economic zone (SEZ) that is envisioned to become a preferred destination of locators in the agro-industry (22 ha) and information technology (7.5 ha) sectors, and for establishing research facilities, start-ups, and business incubators (4.0 ha). It also includes a commercial area (1.5 ha) and green open parks, basic systems, and support facilities (9.3 ha) needed in an SEZ.
AIP-ITP is strategically linked to the Manila South Road and the Philippine National Railways through multiple access points and will become more accessible as soon as the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 and the Laguna Lakeshore Road Network are completed.
Apart from fiscal incentives, locators in an SEZ will benefit from the talent and expertise that abound in UPLB, research and technology, and access to facilities such as International Organization for Standardization-certified analytical laboratories.
fDi, a print and digital magazine of the Financial Times, cited anecdotal evidence suggesting that the presence of a university in or near an SEZ is a key factor in its success, given that the world’s top SEZs have universities in them. According to the author, Thibault Serlet, who is also director of research at the Adrianople Group, a business intelligence advisory firm, the presence of young, energetic thinkers in universities guarantees that SEZs remain in touch with current technological trends. Universities also act as magnets for entrepreneurs because of their entrepreneurship programs and start-up events that attract people from the global tech scene.
An SEZ that caters to agro-industry can help spur the local economy by taking advantage of opportunities, including expertise and technology from UPLB, to bridge the gaps across the agriculture value chain. It will also mean an increase and improvement in the quality of employment and more vibrant commerce in Los Baños and surrounding areas.
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