Florida Budget Agreement Prioritizes Research

May 07, 2014

The FY15 budget agreement approved last week by lawmakers dedicates $60 million to elevate the state’s status in cancer care and research, with another $20 million slated for peer-reviewed research grants. The cancer research initiative was a major priority for Gov. Rick Scott during the session. The budget also increases funding for economic development incentives and provides level funds for university-based technology commercialization.

With the passage of HB 5203 and the budget allocation of $60 million, existing Florida Cancer Centers are provided with resources to attain National Cancer Center Institute (NCI) designation. The bill establishes the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers within the Department of Health and outlines a statewide biomedical research strategy. NCI-designated cancer centers must meet rigorous criteria for world-class, state-of-the-art programs in multidisciplinary cancer research. There are currently 68 in the country, and only one in Florida – the Moffitt Cancer Center.

The centers put significant resources into developing research programs, faculty, and facilities, which often takes several years to build as part of the application process. NCI designation can lead to greater federal funding opportunities and recognition of excellence. The budget provides $45 million from the general fund and $15 million from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund toward the state’s goal. Another $20 million was approved for projects funded by peer-reviewed research grants under the Bankhead/Coley Cancer Research program ($10 million) and King Biomedical Research program ($10 million). Total funding for biomedical and cancer research-related programs increased by nearly $40 million from the FY14 budget, reports BioFlorida.

Within the Department of Economic Opportunity, $71 million is slated for economic development incentives, which includes carryover funds from last fiscal year. Some of the programs funded include the Quick Action Closing Fund program, Qualified Targeted Industries program, High Impact Performance Incentive program, and Innovation Incentive program.

The budget authorizes $19.9 million for Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership serving as the state’s primary organization devoted to statewide economic development. Space Florida’s budget is maintained at $19.5 million.

Level funding of $5.5 million was approved for the Institute for Commercialization of Public Research, a program created by the legislature in 2007 to work with tech transfer offices at universities and institutions to facilitate development of spinoff companies. Of that amount, $4 million is for direct support to companies.

The bills are headed to Gov. Scott, who has 15 days to act from the time he receives them. 

Floridastate budget