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New Centers of Excellence Program Funded in Florida

May 24, 2002

Senate Bill 1844, signed by Governor Jeb Bush this week, provides $30 million to create Centers of Excellence and includes several other key elements of the Florida Technology Development Initiative, proposed by Governor Bush in his State of the State speech this year.

The Centers of Excellence program is intended to foster innovative, cutting-edge technology research at Florida's colleges and universities, develop commercially viable applications for that research, and recruit high-tech industries and thinkers to the state.

Technology sectors highlighted in the announcement include simulation, optics and space technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. The legislation permits the centers to support new facilities, laboratories and endowed academic chairs.

Other provisions of the bill include:

Expansion of research and development parks financed by the Florida Industrial Development Financing Act to include state universities, community colleges and government agencies, if their projects promote scientific research and development; Transfer of Florida's technology promotion and workforce recruitment website to Workforce Florida, Inc., with coordination between the State Technology Office and the Agency for Workforce Innovation; and Deposit of sales tax holiday funds in the State Board of Education's Major Gifts Trust until distributed to the universities.

More information is available at: http://www.myflorida.com/