Brogan, Parker Visit USF

The officials were briefed on strategies underway in Tampa and St. Petersburg tied to the New Florida Initiative.

 

 

By Vickie Chachere

USF.edu News Manager

 

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2011) – The University of South Florida is “perfectly set” to meet the goals of the State University System’s New Florida initiative and its ambition of building high-tech, high-wage industries, President Judy Genshaft told Florida Board of Governors Chair Ava Parker and Chancellor Frank Brogan in a day-long tour of USF’s high-impact projects.

 

From an early glimpse of the plans for a world-class medical training facility which will be built in downtown Tampa to a technology start-incubator at USF Connect to the USF College of Marine Science complex in St. Petersburg, Parker and Brogan got an up-close look USF’s strategic plan put into action.

 

With Florida’s economic recovery taking longer than anticipated and another tough legislative session on the horizon, state leaders are increasingly focused on the State University System and Florida’s 11 public universities in building knowledge-based economy.

 

The Florida Board of Governors and Brogan have spearheaded the New Florida Initiative, which recently 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.

 

“This is a tough time,” Parker said. “We want to show you an investment of your dollar is a good investment.”

 

In November, USF received grants for five research projects totaling $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 $394 million in sponsored research is only part of the picture of the university’s rapid growth, Brogan and Parker were told. Last year, USF researchers produced 66 new patents (the highest number in the state); started five new companies and the university earned nearly $18 million in licensing revenue.

Brogan and Parker were briefed on both USF’s progress in meeting the goals of its strategic plan and its continued growth in federal research and the creation of new patented technologies and spin-off companies. The duo met with students and travelled to St. Petersburg to meet with the Florida Institute of Oceanography, the consortium of public, private and government marine science research entities across Florida, and to speak with USF College of Marine Science researchers involved in studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Brogan lauded FIO as a prime example what can be accomplished when Florida’s universities collaborate and marshal scarce resources to address statewide concerns. Brogan said that same model of uniting universities in collaborative research efforts could be used to address a myriad of issues such as alternative energy, biosciences and aerospace sciences that would position the state as an international research leader at the same time it helps expand those industries in Florida.

“If you can harness the power of the higher education community – the public universities and the private universities – there is no reason we can’t build on tourism and agriculture to become a knowledge-based economy,” Brogan said.

Read more about the New Florida Initiative at the Florida Board of Governors’ website, flbog.edu.

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