New Florida Grants Announced

Florida Board of Governors’ New Florida initiative will help fund research partnerships.


By Vickie Chachere News Manager


TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2010) – The University of South Florida has been awarded nine research and faculty hiring grants totaling $1.475 million as part of the Florida Board of Governor’s “New Florida” initiative strategy aimed at remaking the Florida’s economy through the collective capabilities of the state’s 11 public universities.


The effort to build a knowledge-based economy in all has awarded $12 million to Florida universities to seed development of new technologies, enhance the universities’ research capabilities and bring new products to market in commercialization grants. Read more about the New Florida Initiative here.

USF received grants for five research projects totalling $850,000 and another $625,000 to hire leading academic and scientific leaders in key research areas, such as engineering, health, marine science and geophysics.

Each of the grants funds a USF partnership with other Florida research universities and involves projects with practical applications and potential economic impact.

USF’s winning proposals are:

·         A project between USF and the University of Florida to create new systems for the detection, prevention and treatment of vector borne diseases, such as malaria, leishmaniasis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and dengue fever. Florida, with its tropical location, is susceptible to these maladies and the project will focus on developing new predictive models; biomarkers for treatment safety and effectiveness and new clinical evaluation techniques for efficient drug development.

·         A proposal uniting USF and UF in the Florida Cluster for Advanced Smart Sensor Technologies, which will create a unique program in Florida to focus on the rapidly growing area of advanced sensors to monitor the chemical, biological and physical world. Such sensors will play a role in the future of environmental cleanup, emissions monitoring, screening for explosives and even medical diagnosis and care.

·         The creation of a new supercomputer infrastructure in Florida in a joint effort between USF, UF and Florida State University. Dubbed “SunGrid”, the New Florida funding will begin the process of building a centralized database and website to serve as a showcase and clearinghouse for high-end computing, data storage, instrumentation and intellectual assets at the three universities. The website and database will give researchers an easy way to locate resources needed to support their current research programs, as well as provide education outreach to math, science and engineering programs.

·         A joint effort between USF and FSU to create a first-of-its kind combined atmospheric and ocean modeling and forecasting center that would provide more accurate information on threats emanating from the oceans, including hurricanes, winter storms, freezes and oil spills.

·         A partnership with the University of Central Florida in biomedical engineering. The funding will support programs at both universities and produce undergraduate and intermediate graduate course modules that can be shared electronically. The effort is expected to contribute to the development of a biomedical engineering certificate program.

 The awards are the result of the Florida Legislature’s support for the New Florida initiative, which Florida university leaders welcomed as an “investment strategy” in using higher education to help transform Florida’s economic landscape.

The goals of the initiative are by 2015 to increase annual degree production by 25,000; hire 500 new faculty members who would generate an additional $500 million annually in research funding; add 100 new patent awards to Florida’s annual totals; as well as improve graduation and retention rates, new business start-ups and increase licensing revenue.

By 2030, the effort aims to increase annual degree production by 50,000; increase faculty-generated research funding by $1.5 billion and increase annual patent awards by 250.

Vickie Chachere can be reached at 813-974-6251.