New research park should attract local industry to USF

USF will break ground for the construction of two buildings at a new Research Park on campus today.

Carl Carlucci, chief financial officer for USF, said the new 230,000 square-foot park will encourage interaction between USF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and local industry.

“A lot of major universities have built parks like these. USF is a major research institute, generating more than $250 million in research, second only to (the University of Florida) in the state,” Carlucci said. “When you’ve got that amount of research, you need an outlet to allow the community and businesses around the university to get in touch with the school.”

According to Carlucci, the two new buildings will include one facility primarily for faculty research — which will be run almost entirely by USF — and one that will include offices for both the Center for Entrepreneurship and local businesses.

The two new buildings will cost about $40 million and will be paid for by state and federal education and research grants in addition to the revenue obtained through rent from businesses with offices in the buildings, Carlucci said.

The economic benefits of the center make the park a worthy endeavor, though, Carlucci said:

“We have so many faculty members doing so many things (with their research). We have so many students getting involved in the community. We have the Center for Entrepreneurship. You bring all these things together and you need to create a way for the community to get involved with it all,” he said. “(The Research Park) will create a lot of community and economic development. Job opportunities will be created. Internships for students will be introduced.”

Other facilities to be added include a new office for the Center for Biological Defense and a 30,000 square-foot business incubator that will hold offices for corporate partners.

Rod Casto, associate vice president of economic development at USF, credits the inspiration for the park to USF President Judy Genshaft.

“I think President Genshaft saw the success that similar research institutes have had with similar facilities and decided it was something she wanted to see USF do,” Casto said.

In October, Genshaft, Carlucci and Ian Phillips, vice president of research at USF, visited San Diego to see Connect, an organization for entrepreneurship at the University of California, San Diego. Carlucci said the trip provided a model for what USF hopes to create.

According to its Web site, UCSD Connect aims at accelerating the growth of technology and integrating university resources into the community.

“(The new facilities) will be a way to get the community interested in the university,” Carlucci said. “(The San Diego visit) reinforced to us the idea that this venture can work and how to go about making it work.”

The 1 p.m. ceremony will take place near the Embassy Suites on the southeast corner of campus. In attendance will be Genshaft, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Tom Scott and Geary Havran, president of the Florida Medical Manufacturers’ Consortium.