Crist Announces Draper Deal Including R&D Center at USF

TAMPA, Fla. (July 28, 2008) – Governor Charlie Crist and Draper Laboratory's CEO Jim Shields today announced Cambridge, Mass.-based Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., one of the world's leading independent research and development laboratories engaged in applied research, engineering and development, will be establishing a BioMEMS R&D Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa and a Multi Chip Module (MCM) Center in St. Petersburg.

Between the BioMEMS R&D Center in Tampa and the MCM pilot facility in St. Petersburg, Draper will create 165 new jobs, with an average wage of $75,000. (MEMS is short for microelectromechanical systems -- microelectronics, microfabrication and micromachining technologies.)

Draper will be a research partner with the University of South Florida, SRI-St. Petersburg and others to form the nucleus of a micro-technology cluster, resulting in the growth of innovation workers and economic development in the Tampa Bay region and the state of Florida. Draper will also be working with Progress Energy on energy production efficiency improvements.

“The expansion of Draper Laboratory's world-class research and development operations into the Tampa Bay area exemplifies Florida's attractiveness to premier R&D institutes worldwide and validates the strength of our biotechnology and research foundation,” said Governor Charlie Crist. "I applaud the outstanding collaboration of our academic, economic development and statewide leaders to successfully bring this visionary project from idea to reality."

Draper Laboratory's expansion into Florida is a collaborative effort with the University of South Florida, Hillsborough County, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, Pinellas County, city of St. Petersburg, Progress Energy, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Tampa Bay Partnership, Enterprise Florida Inc., and the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development.

"This partnership provides an excellent opportunity for Draper Laboratory to further its work in developing technology solutions to some of the nation's most critical problems in health care, security, and energy. We look forward to working with USF, industry partners, and the economic development team in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and the state of Florida in executing our mission to serve the national interest,” said Draper President & CEO Jim Shields.

The BioMEMS R&D Center will be working in partnership with the University of South Florida and its medical school for the application of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies to medical and biological problems. An emerging field of research, BioMEMs is enabling the creation of smaller and more functional devices to improve medical diagnostics and therapies. Clinical applications include surgical instruments, tissue repair, artificial organs, and drug delivery systems. Additionally, Draper will sponsor two graduate students at USF each year, supporting the graduate education and co-advising the thesis work conducted.

The Multi Chip Module (MCM) pilot facility in St. Petersburg will position Draper to meet an increasing demand by a select group of government customers for custom-designed, developed and produced specialty MCMs designed for innovative applications. Multi chip modules combine multiple integrated circuits into a single unit or "system on a chip." Multi chip modules are specialized electronic packages where multiple integrated circuits, semiconductor dies and other components work together. Through this integration, MCMs dramatically reduce the size and weight of complex electronic systems. Draper has a unique technology position with MCMs and is world class in novel sensor designs integrated with complex electronics and RF communications equipment. This is one application of the new technology capability Draper could bring to the Tampa Bay region.

In addition to the BioMEMS and MCM Centers, Draper and Progress Energy are collaborating on improving the efficiency of Florida's coal burning power plants. One of Draper's goals is to improve the efficiency of coal power plants (currently responsible for generating 40 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions) by at least 10 percent using novel sensors and control technologies. Draper also will be able to leverage extensive experience in systems for the military to develop integrated sensing and feedback solutions.

Draper Laboratory qualified to receive $15 million for the multi-location, multi-county project from the Innovation Incentive Fund, established in 2006 to attract world class research institutes to Florida. Hillsborough County and the University of South Florida are collaborating to provide a site, construction and equipment for the BioMEMS Center. Funding to design and construction of the new MCM facility will be provided by Pinellas County, Progress Energy, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, and Draper Laboratory. The city of St. Petersburg is providing land for the MCM Center.

"This is the future for Tampa Bay — taking brilliant ideas and turning them into the next generation of advances in health,” said Judy Genshaft, Ph.D., president of the University of South Florida. "We’re delighted to have Draper Laboratory establish this facility here, and very grateful to the Tampa Bay Partnership for providing the rallying point for cities and counties in the region to help seal the deal."

"The announcement of Draper Florida signifies greater innovation and economic opportunity for Hillsborough County, USF, the Tampa Bay region and the state of Florida. We welcome this fine organization and look forward to a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship," said Commissioner Ken Hagan, Chair, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.

"Draper's selection of Tampa Bay for this cluster project validates the efforts to make our region a magnet for cutting-edge research and development, attracting high-wage jobs and the talented workforce to support it," said Larry Richey, chair, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.

"There is no question that we are thrilled to have a research organization as prestigious as Draper Laboratory join the St. Petersburg community," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. "Our goal is to support the development of high-wage jobs and high-value research that will help further economic development in the region."

"Draper Laboratory joins SRI-St. Petersburg, Progress Energy and others in a regional collaborative effort between multiple organizations and local governments. As it grows and develops, we expect it to generate strategic partnerships with other industry segments," said Commissioner Robert B. Stewart, chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Pinellas County. "This is exactly the kind of economic engine we need to create high-wage jobs in the Tampa Bay area."

"We’re excited to be a part of bringing this level of cutting-edge research to the Tampa Bay region," said Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida. "The focus on incorporating energy production efficiency into this project will become a key attractor to a wide range of industries."

"Draper Laboratory strengthens the research capabilities of Florida's High Tech Corridor," said Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor. "We are pleased to be able to provide support for Draper's work in the form of our Matching Grants Research Program which will match Draper scientists with faculty and graduate students at USF."

"Today, we become partners with one of the best research institutes in the world, with a record for identifying and commercializing innovations. It strengthens our university, it strengthens our business community, and it attracts attention from the world interested in innovation, including the much sought-after venture capital community," said Stuart Rogel, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership.”

The Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development worked closely with the University of South Florida, Hillsborough County, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, city of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County Economic Development, Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, Progress Energy, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Tampa Bay Partnership, and Enterprise Florida to secure this project for Florida.

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. is a non-profit engineering research and development laboratory dedicated to providing technological solutions to important national problems in areas including guidance, navigation, and control; miniature, low-power electronics; biomedical engineering; highly reliable embedded software; energy; and autonomous systems. Draper serves the nation as a bridge between academic research and real-world applications of technology. Primarily focused on applied development for the Department of Defense and NASA, the Laboratory also works with private industry customers.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities.  USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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