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USF breaks ground on new research building

Margie Manning

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Rendering of the new building under construction at USF Research Park

University of South Florida Research Park in Tampa is getting its first new building since 2005.

USF broke ground on the new structure Tuesday morning. It will be a three-story, 120,000-square-foot foot building that will include laboratories, offices and meeting space, as well as retail and dining options. It allows the university to significantly expand its business incubator, already home to more than 65 companies and additional student-led startups.

“We have been at nearly full capacity for several years, so we are so glad that in the next 18 months we can bring more USF startups, established firms and innovative companies together to create future collaborations with our faculty, staff and students,” Paul Sanberg, senior vice president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise, told the USF board of trustees just before the groundbreaking.

USF trustees watched a new marketing video for the new building.

USF RESEARCH PARK from frank cawley on Vimeo.

The $42 million project is financed through the USF Financing Corp. with $27 million in debt and $15 million cash equity contribution from the USF Research Foundation. The project previously received approval by the Florida Board of Governors and the USF Board of Trustees.  It is scheduled for completion in fall 2021.

Following a competitive process, a design/build team from Skanska and integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm Gensler were selected. CBRE was selected as marketer/broker for the project.

Culture of innovation

There’s a culture of innovation at USF, Sanberg told trustees.

“It refers to a shift in thinking about how our efforts as a research university intersect with the wider world. USF has always had a focus on applied research, and in a knowledge economy there is a larger role for universities to play in bringing new technologies and best practices to market.”

Paul Sanberg

One initiative that Sanberg highlighted is the Global Center for Hearing & Speech Research, housed at the USF Research Park.

“There’s no medicine for people to take to deal with hearing loss. The center’s scientists have developed a new patented treatment that combines the hormone aldosterone with anti-inflammatory medication, to not only stop hearing loss but reverse it,” Sanberg said.

The USF Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease Research, focusing on disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment, also is housed at the Research Park.

Sanberg listed several other measures of success.

• USF has ranked in the top 10 American public research universities for U.S. patents for the past nine years, including 117 new patents issued in fiscal year 2019. There are 69 products currently on the market that were developed at USF.

“While not every patent becomes a new product, each new patent advances the state of the art in technological innovation by creating yet another step up the ladder,” Sanberg said.

• USF’s innovation enterprise — which includes the Research Park, Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, Technology Transfer Office and Office of Corporate Partnerships — has a $582 million statewide economic impact, sustains more than 4,000 jobs, and returns $71 million in local, state and federal taxes.

• USF Research Park houses the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame and has a chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

“On a global level the NAI has been instrumental in putting a focus on the crucial role that universities play in driving innovation worldwide. Increasingly corporations are turning to university partners in research and development and the impact of that lab-to-market pipeline has a tremendous impact on the global economy. We want to make sure that impact is replicated whenever and wherever we can,” he said.

The Jabil Innovation Institute — a collaboration between USF and Jabil (NYSE: JBL), a St. Petersburg-based manufacturing solutions company — opened recently.

“This month the National Shriners Genomics Institute joins the Research Park community … It hopes to partner with USF researchers in an effort to explore the genetic causes of debilitating childhood conditions,” Sanberg said. “Those are two great examples of the types of enterprises we hope to have in our expanded research park facilities.”

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Bob Lasher

    March 10, 2020at3:10 pm

    where is it being built?

  2. Avatar

    Billy B Williams

    March 11, 2020at9:31 am

    They can find money for another building but employees have to wait for the State budget to give them a raise

  3. Avatar

    Robert Burns

    March 17, 2020at9:26 am

    Who is the Architect? Who is the General Contractor?

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