USF has partnered with Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (PUCRS) in order to expand research and business opportunities for students.
According to a press release, Tampa and Porto Alegre, where PUCRS is located, have been sister cities since 2013. Because of this, faculty members from both USF and PUCRS were already collaborating on research before the universities’ official partnership.
The College of Pharmacy was the first to be involved with PUCRS, followed by the Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences, which helped diversify the connection between the universities.
“When a city signs a sister city agreement, there are multiple dimensions to that,” Kiki Caruson, associate professor and assistant vice president for Research, Innovation and Global Affairs at USF, said. “There might be an education component, there might be a trade component; there might be an investment component; there might be a tourism component. So USF agreed to play an important role in developing the educational partnership between the two cities.”
The press release said both USF and PUCRS have strengths in health and biological science disciplines. USF’s Research Park and PUCRS’s TECNOPUC have signed a formal agreement in order to utilize these strengths and increase collaboration on industry and technology transfer.
“Technology transfer means you have an idea, whether it be in engineering or in medicine, and you want to bring that idea to the marketplace. So we can facilitate that,” Caruson said. “In our research park we have a business incubator, so start-up businesses have a framework within which they can build until they’re sustainable.
“We also have a student incubator, … a place where students who have ideas can bring those ideas to fruition.”
USF is one of the top 50 research universities in the nation, but Caruson said there are many reasons the partnership would be beneficial to students.
“Brazil is a dynamic and important country within Latin America … we know how important it is to have global skills in our global economy and our global marketplace, so having these international partnerships with universities and our research parks that are complementary to our strengths allows us to provide new opportunities to students,” she said.
USF System President Judy Genshaft also emphasized the advantages of the partnership between the universities.
“Our agreement with PUCRS establishes future collaboration among faculty, increases opportunities for student exchanges, and allows us to share best practices in connecting university research to economic development,” Genshaft said in a press release.
Caruson wants students to understand the importance of the relationship between USF and PUCRS.
“Our students should care about our international partnerships … because they identify universities where there is activity and interest and mutually beneficial research or other types of collaboration going on,” she said.