Executive Director of Communications & Development
State University Research Commercialization Grants Totaling $2M Announced Today
State universities awarded Research Commercialization grants totaling $2M
from Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board
R&D projects represent first phase of awards in three categories from 2010 New Florida Initiative funds,
in the partnership between Board of Governors, Florida Legislature
Legislative leaders cite grants as 'creating the high-paying careers of the future here in Florida'
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The 2010 Florida Legislature appropriated $2 million for the State University Research Commercialization Assistance Grants program, and 21 projects amid 10 state universities* have been announced as the award winners, ranging from wireless health care medication regimens and technological devices to help premature babies survive to an array of alternative energy projects.
Following the process outlined in statute, the awards were reviewed and approved at a recent meeting of the Florida Technology, Research, and Scholarship Board (FTRSB). Proposals were submitted in late summer, and the statute requires award recipients to be chosen by October 30.
Individual awards range from $30,000 to $200,000. The complete list and short descriptions of each project are posted on a spreadsheet at www.flbog.edu/new_florida/ (Eds: please note underscore if providing to the public).
"This is an exciting day for the dedicated researchers, faculty members and students who work so hard conducting lab work, testing the theories and innovations that will help create jobs and transform our state into a knowledge-based economy for long-term economic growth," said Ann Duncan of Tampa, the Board of Governors representative on the FTRSB who is also the chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee on the 17-member Florida Board of Governors of the State University System. "We appreciate the legislative support for commercialization grants, and the Board of Governors is confident that these awards will translate into extraordinary examples of collaboration across our public university system."
Overall, there were 45 proposals submitted requesting (a total of) more than $5 million.
Proposals for these State University Research Commercialization Assistance Grants were received in one of three areas (the second and third areas requiring a dollar-for-dollar match):
- grants that explore initial ideas for commercializing university research;
- grants that create business plans to commercialize university research; or
- grants for implementing business plans.
The Legislature tasked the Board of Governors' office with reviewing the proposals and providing funding recommendations to the FTRSB, which was established in Florida law in 2006 through the 21st Century Technology, Research, and Scholarship Enhancement Act. For more on the Act, see http://www.flbog.org/about/cod/asa/21stcentury.php
Board of Governors Chair Ava Parker of Jacksonville and State University System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan say the day represents the first milestone for the New Florida Initiative, a partnership launched in 2010 with the Legislature. The initiative recognizes that Florida\'s economic history has been dependent on agriculture, tourism, and growth. While those sectors have formed the Florida we know, it is clear that a more diverse, sustainable economy is needed. The New Florida Initiative is a multi-year endeavor to ensure that Florida's knowledge and innovation economy is sustained by high-technology, high-wage jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (or "STEM"). A true and holistic transformation will also involve the areas of medicine and health care, finance, insurance, professional services, education and the arts, which are the foundation of a modern society. The New Florida Initiative is the State University System's collaborative effort " alongside business and government " to deliver the economy, talent and innovations that Florida must have to be globally competitive.
The announcement of awards for the remaining $10 million of the 2010 New Florida Initiative funding from the Legislature will occur in early November.
Proposal reviewers at the Board of Governors utilized a National Institutes of Health model to construct procedures for review and scoring. The core criteria, stipulated in statute, are as follows:
- The potential return to the university which may be reasonably assumed based on the business case presented in support of the proposed project.
- The potential for the creation of high-wage jobs resulting from the success of the proposed project.
- The potential of the proposed project to address pressing needs of the residents of the state.
- The potential of the proposed project to enhance the economic competitiveness of the state and the university.
- The technical, financial, organizational and marketing feasibility of the project and its business plan.
- The potential of the proposed project to create other related business enterprises.
Although relatively nominal in terms of traditional research and development awards, the commercialization grants speak volumes and will have clear results and contributions toward the Legislature's commitment to help diversify the state economy in a progressive way.
Top leaders for the higher education policy and budget issue in the Legislature heralded the awards:
"Florida's universities have some of the nation's finest researchers, and their success can help recharge our state's economic engine - so as we connect the work at our state universities with the private sector, we create the nexus to move Florida's economy forward," said Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. "The Legislature is working very hard to create the high-paying careers of the future here in Florida, and this program attracts and keeps those jobs in our state."
Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine: "Our ability to take to market promising research from our public universities is critical to Florida's future economic health and is one of the best investments that we can make on behalf of the citizens of our state."
Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach: "These funds make it possible for the extensive research results to be successfully marketed."
Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville: "If Florida is to be truly competitive in job creation, we must connect our higher education system to the needs of the economy. Our universities ought to be the cradle of economic development - that is the purpose of this commercialization provision within our 'Jobs for Florida' law: to encourage research that has value to Florida's economy and then not stop there, but bring that research to market."
Sen. Gaetz and Rep. Weatherford were primary sponsors of the 2010 bills that appropriated the $2 million for the commercialization awards. Sen. Lynn and Rep. Proctor are the respective higher education budget chairs and were co-sponsors of the bills.
For full details about the New Florida Initiative of the Florida Board of Governors and State University System, and for a complete list of awards and project descriptions, see http://www.flbog.edu/new_florida/
* New College did not pursue grants in this phase, because research commercialization is not part of its mission. It has submitted a proposal for the next round of awards for the 2010 New Florida Initiative, to be announced in November.