USF officials visit San Diego to better Tampa

In an effort to improve Tampa’s future, the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce organized a visit to San Diego to represent the Tampa area’s business, university and research communities.

The four main topics discussed during the visit were redevelopment, biotech, life sciences and transportation.

The USF administration members who participated in the trip included USF President Judy Genshaft, Carlucci and Ian Phillips, vice president of USF research.

The San Diego trip allowed the USF delegates to see each of these elements work in a successful environment like southern California has proven over the past years, said Carl Carlucci, USF’s executive vice president.

“USF has a role in all of the three areas (already mentioned),” Carlucci said.

Carlucci also said University of California San Diego has two programs; Connect and Biocom, which they studied closely while in San Diego.

According to its official Web site, UCSD Connect is a university-based organization for entrepreneurship in the San Diego region that accelerates the growth of technology and integrating university resources such as the School of Medicine.

Phillips said he is in charge of high-level research, which could be used to develop industry and commercialize inventions made by the USF faculty and patients.

Celebrating the third annual Inter City Visit, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce organized a weekend long stay, from Sept. 9-12.

Visitors included representatives from Hillsborough Community College and the University of Tampa. In addition, planners and business delegates were also part of the Tampa Bay committee of about 60 people.

Phillips said San Diego was chosen as an area of study this year because of the similarities between the two cities.

“San Diego and Tampa are both on water, they both have a port, military bases and a tremendous biotech industry,” Phillips said. “(UCSD) plays a very important role. (UC’s) faculty invents ideas and techniques and then the community picks them up and turns them into new companies.”

Carlucci said TBCC has been supportive of the role on USF’s economic development project..

“Tampa Chamber of Commerce helps us do representations or research area and we help by promoting the Tampa Bay area,” Carlucci said.

As a result of the trip, USF has been able to see first hand the effects of a strong, economic development project. In addition, Phillips said one of USF’s goals is to build a Research Park, which would add spaces for companies to prosper.

“It would be an incubator for business and research labs,” he said. “Research can go in the same building. (USF) expects the research to generate ideas that will be used to start up companies.”

Phillips said faculty would be invited to work in this research building, which should break ground in December.

“The costs would be around $14 million and it would be 230,000 square feet,” Phillips said. “The cost for the building would be raised by bonds from financial companies and the businesses working in the building would pay back the loan.”