Friday, December 15, 2017
Business

USF innovation push brings huge rewards for the Tampa Bay region and Florida, report finds

The University of South Florida system's efforts to commercialize research discoveries and newly patented technologies is having a pretty significant impact on the state — to the tune of more than $400 million, according to an economic consultant's report.

USF's innovation and economic development efforts sustain more than 3,000 jobs and return more than $52 million in tax revenue to local, state and federal coffers, said the report.

The Washington Economics Group, based in Coral Gables, took the first look at the impact and return on investment of what it called the "USF Innovation Enterprise." It focused on three areas: the USF Research Park, a centrally located community environment for companies and organizations interested in partnering with USF; the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, which supports university spinout companies, student-founded startups and new community companies through their early stage of commercialization; and the Technology Transfer Office, which focuses on the commercialization of intellectual property, including patents and copyrights, directly stemming from USF system research.

"At USF, leading-edge research and entrepreneurship are ingrained in its culture," the report states.

It identified more than $400 million worth of statewide economic impact. Contributing were 3,017 high-wage jobs and $149 million in household income; $224 million in gross domestic product; and $52 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.

The 68-page report states that the USF Innovation Enterprise provides a business environment that attracts new companies and a growing pool of highly skilled professionals.

"Graduating talented students ready to be competitive in a global marketplace is only half the equation when it comes to advancing our economy," USF president Judy Genshaft said in an announcement of the report's findings. "We are strategically investing in our high-tech, knowledge economy sectors to create the jobs of the future and retain that talent for the benefit of all Floridians."

USF is home to the National Academy of Inventors and the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Paul Sanberg, USF's senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development, contemplated the economic impact of 65 products on the market and 12 in clinical trials that have come through the USF innovation pipeline.

"The economic impact we contribute ensures that high-tech jobs will continue to form the future backbone of the local and regional community, and create a foundation for even greater future success," Sanberg said.

Contact Jerome R. Stockfisch at [email protected]

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