Juan A Bertolin, Espiatec, Science and Technology Park of Castellon, Spain (*email address protected*)
Guilherme Ary Plonski, University of Sao Paolo, Brazil (*email address protected*)

Sixty-five years ago the first science park was established. Eight years later, the first business incubator started operation. A noticeable similitude is that neither one of those pioneering innovation niches was intentional, as they resulted from the acumen of entrepreneurial minds that perceived unconventional usage of available real estate. Science parks (aka research or technology parks) and incubators have disseminated and now operate in a large number of countries, regardless of their economic level or political ideology.

Two contrasting paths evolved during the first five decades since Stanford Research Park and Batavia Incubator were created: combination and differentiation. On one hand, several science parks now incorporate one or more incubators, and some incubators have expanded their scope to post-incubation, turning them into ‘proto science parks’. On the other hand, multiple and diverse applications developed, making incubators and science parks better understandable as families, each with different genera and species.

A phenomenon that has gradually surfaced since the mid 2000’s is the emergence of non-traditional types of innovation niches: accelerators, catapults, innovation districts, makerspaces, hackerspaces, co-working spaces, fab labs, tech shops, innovation labs, living labs and others. Although each possesses individual features, they share converging aims, which are akin to the purposes of incubators and science parks. This track welcomes proposals for articles that: (i) delineate cognitive maps helpful for organizing the diverse array of practices; (ii) analyze the Triple Helix concepts underlying these new ‘areas of innovation’; and (iii) describe practical cases that illuminate the expanding frontiers of innovation niches around the world.