Ann Duncan: Research drives our economy


Published: Monday, November 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 at 12:52 a.m.

The research and innovations developed daily at Florida's 11 state universities play a unique role in driving our state toward long-term, sustainable economic growth. These public institutions continue to be catalysts, bringing products and discoveries to market that create jobs and businesses.

The Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida embarked in January on the multi-year "New Florida Initiative," to transform and diversify our state's economy into a knowledge-based economic portfolio. The first phase of the "New Florida Initiative" awards was the 2010 State University Research Commercialization Assistance Grants program, administered by the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board (FTRSB).

I commend the entire "New Florida Initiative" team involved for their energy and enthusiasm so that the FTRSB members could properly review all of the great commercialization opportunities offered by the State University System in a expeditious manner, reaching the greatest return possible on this $2 million investment.

Of 21 award projects statewide amid 11 public institutions, the University of Florida was awarded this year's record-setting amount of four grants for its innovations.

The $2 million recently awarded will advance a wide array of 21 impressive products; ranging from wireless health care medication regimens and technological devices to help premature babies survive to an array of alternative energy innovations.

Thanks to our partnership with the Florida Legislature, these R&D commercialization awards represent the first release of three award categories utilizing the 2010 "New Florida Initiative" funds. These awards, and others set to be selected and announced in mid-November, provide substantial ROI, or return on investment, for Florida's citizens. While these investments are prudent in good times, they are precisely what is needed in challenging times. These investments lift Florida toward a faster road to recovery.

The list of commercialization awards and more about the "New Florida Initiative" is at www.flbog.edu/New_Florida.

Ann Duncan sits on the 17-member Board of Governors of the State University System and served on the FTRSB to select the commercialization grants.

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