The University of South Florida today unveiled a new state-of-the-art research center that will deepen the connection between university innovation and the business community and help advance the Tampa Bay region’s growing startup ecosystem. Located at the USF Research Park on the Tampa campus, the three-story, 120,000-square-foot mixed-use building features advanced laboratory facilities, as well as office and meeting spaces for new and established companies.
"The University of South Florida’s new Research Park building marks a new era in the university’s robust and renowned research enterprise – the opening of a vibrant home for solving problems in our community, our state, our country and beyond," said USF President Rhea Law. "It will serve as a catalyst for bringing together leading researchers, entrepreneurs, financial investors and corporations at an ideal time for USF and the Tampa Bay region’s rapidly expanding innovation economy."
The $42 million project will allow the university to significantly expand its Research Park, providing much-needed space. It’s currently home to more than 65 companies and dozens of additional student-led startups and has been consistently at full capacity in recent years. The new building increases the park’s space by 34 percent.
This expansion comes at an advantageous time for the university and Tampa Bay, as nationally leading innovators, entrepreneurs, along with science and technology firms are being drawn to the area, often citing the talent pipeline generated by USF as a reason for their decision.
“The USF Research Park has long been a thriving community bridging research and innovation for our faculty, students and partners,” said Sylvia Wilson Thomas, interim vice president for research & innovation. “Bold, ambitious new technologies have always found a home here. This incredible new building is going to be a catalyst for our inventors and partners, helping them flourish in a modern marketplace and contribute to an innovation ecosystem to change the world.”
USF’s innovation and economic development efforts generate more than $582 million in statewide impact each year, sustain more than 4,000 jobs and return more than $71 million in tax revenue to local, state and federal coffers, according to a 2019 analysis from the Washington Economics Group, a leading national firm. Eighty-two percent of the jobs created by USF innovation statewide are in the knowledge-based services sector. The research enterprise is a key element to USF’s annual economic impact of more than $6 billion.
The innovation facility marks the first new building in the Research Park since 2005.