Florida research parks key to economic growth, business development

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Florida state university’s nine research parks play a key role in the state’s economy, according to the current Florida TaxWatch monthly Economic Commentary Report released last week.

Not only do research facilities develop Florida’s economy, says the report authored by TaxWatch Chief Economist Jerry Parrish, but they also are instrumental in keeping top graduates in the state, as well as producing and sustaining carriers in high-wage Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

“Florida’s university research parks help create jobs, and our state should continue to invest in and develop their resources to grow and diversify the state economy,” said Florida TaxWatch president and CEO Dominic Calabro, head of the nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute and government watchdog.

Florida maintains more university research parks than any other state: 

  • Innovation Park
  • Progress Corporate Park
  • Central Florida Research Park
  • University of South Florida Research Park
  • Florida Tech Research Park
  • Treasure Coast Research Park
  • Florida Gulf Coast University Innovation Hub
  • Research Park at Florida Atlantic University
  • University of Miami Life Science Park 

The largest is Central Florida Research Park, functioning as the bridge between companies and the latest research and innovations. Jobs in these research facilities are often high-skill careers that attract corporate investment in the state, in addition to the “multiplier effect,” jobs that create indirect jobs in other supporting categories.

In a recent study by the Battelle Memorial Institute, each job produced in the Florida high-tech sector, approximately 2.48 jobs are created  in local goods and services segments across a range of income groups — lawyers, schoolteachers, retail clerks and restaurant workers, among others.

“Florida’s university research parks help companies partner with the resources of the state’s top talent and research,” Parrish said. “By matching our state’s research capabilities with successful growing businesses, the research parks can foster continued STEM development in Florida.”

University research parks offer other unique services, including assistance with business development planning and creating partnerships between businesses, researchers and investors.

For an example, TaxWatch cites the Technology Business Incubator at the Florida Atlantic University Research Park, host of the New World Angels investor network, a group of independent venture capitalists working with early-stage entrepreneurs in Florida.

NWA has chapters in both South Florida and Tampa Bay, as a co-investor in transactions ranging from $500,000 to $2.5 million.

The full Report is available here.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.