Points of Pride

USF Research & Innovation

  • In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada.

  • Designated as a “Preeminent State Research University,” the Tampa campus is one of the nation’s top public research university campuses and one of only 80 public research university campuses classified by the Carnegie Foundation as both a Doctoral University with “Very High Research Activity” and as a “Community Engaged” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The title of “Very High Research Activity” is a distinction attained by less than 4% of all post-secondary institutions. USF is one of four public universities in the state of Florida classified as such (2023).
  • USF is designated by the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) as an Innovation & Economic Prosperity University, one of only 80 in the nation (2023).

  • USF was awarded $546.5 million in research contracts and grants in fiscal year 2022. According to the National Institutes of Health, every $1.00 in research funding brings in $2.63 in local economic growth. In FY2022, USF’s $546.5 million research funding generated over $1.4 billion in local economic growth.

  • USF had $405 million in total research expenditures in fiscal year 2021/2022 (National Science Foundation HERD Survey).

  • USF’s innovation and economic development efforts generate more than $6 billion in impact each year and supports 68,704 jobs (USF Economic Impact Report).

  • Sponsored Research annually submits approximately 2,000 proposals totaling over $1 billion in funding and processes approximately 3,000 awards and award modifications totaling over $400 million in funding.

  • USF is in the top 10% of research institutions ranked by NSF (National Science Foundation) by total research expenditures for their most recent year (2021).

  • Research Integrity & Compliance reviewed and approved 1,560 new research protocols and conflict management plans and provided training to 4,953 individuals in the past year (FY2022).

  • USF is among the top 15 U.S. public universities for granted U.S. patents according to the National Academy of Inventors (2023), and has ranked in the top 15 among American public universities for 10 consecutive years.

  • USF CONNECT incubator space is currently at 100% occupancy with a current waitlist for office and lab space. USF’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator serviced 67 resident and affiliate companies this past year (FY2023). Its current companies have created more than 477 jobs and received $416 million in funding to date. It is the only tech business incubator in the region to support bio and life science companies with state-of-the-art wet labs. Over 50% of TBTI companies focus on bio/life sciences and biotechnology and approximately 39% are commercializing technologies developed by USF researchers, with over 286 patents received by incubated companies to date.

  • USF’s Student Innovation Incubator, which was launched in 2013 at the request of students eager to start their own companies, has supported over 250 student-led companies to date, with approximately 26 new companies each year (FY2023).
  • In FY2023, the Florida High Tech Corridor Matching Grants Research Program awarded more than $2 million to support 21 research projects across five USF colleges. These funds, in part, support 101 student research engagements with industry. These undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral trainees gained hands-on experience working side by side with local companies and USF faculty on applied research projects. Such projects have focused on next generation sensors, advanced prosthetics, semiconductor, mental health and telemedicine, sustainable agriculture, artificial intelligence, and more.

  • The Corridor also launched two new programs, the Undergraduate Research Initiative and the Early-Stage Innovation Fund. The Undergraduate Research Initiative provided $110,000 to nine USF colleges across campus, which provided new and expanded research opportunities for their undergraduate students, including projects like a university-wide Student Research Portal to connect students and faculty on ongoing research projects. The Early-Stage Innovation fund awarded $150,000 to six different projects to support the advancement of technologies by USF researchers with significant commercial potential. These technologies included AI-based tools, advanced therapeutics, and novel engineering methods.

  • Internal funding provided by USF Research & Innovation and the Provost’s Office in support of the USF Research Task Force on Anti-Black Racism resulted in 23 research grants to 90 researchers across 8 colleges and 42 community and corporate partners.

  • USF was among the first three dozen universities nationwide to be designated an I-Corps Site by the National Science Foundation. As an I-Corps Site, USF develops teams of faculty, students, and business entrepreneurs from the community, and helps them learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from their academic research. The program features a 6-week “boot camp” to provide real-world experience in entrepreneurship, through training in customer discovery and guidance from established entrepreneurs and faculty.

  • Since 2015, the USF I-Corps Site has trained more than 339 teams, of which 112 teams were trained in 6-week bootcamps, 167 in courses, and 60 as part of the programming at the student innovation incubator. The teams span many colleges from all three campuses of USF. 33 teams have advanced to the national NSF I-Corps program to date.
  • USF is the founder and home of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) (AcademyofInventors.org), a non-profit member organization with over 4,600 individual members, including fellows, senior members, and chapter members, affiliated with more than 300 institutions worldwide. The NAI’s nationally recognized fellows program has more than 1,700 elected fellows, including Nobel laureates, U.S. National Medal of Technology & Innovation and National Medal of Science recipients and National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, who collectively hold more than 58,000 issued U.S. patents. USF has 31 NAI Fellows. The USF Chapter of the NAI has over 600 USF faculty, staff, students and alumni members, who collectively hold nearly 3,000 U.S. patents (2022).
  • The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FloridaInvents.org) was founded at USF in 2013. As of 2023, 68 outstanding Florida inventors have been elected, including 11 from USF.
  • The Research Foundation, in association with university leadership, is developing its USF Research Park as a hub for biotechnology, life sciences research and entrepreneurship. In doing so, the Research Foundation is providing the physical structure and community for collaboration, innovation, development, transfer and commercialization of technology. The Research Park and its growing community enable student internships, faculty collaborations, licensing and joint creation of intellectual property, and the forging and facilitation of corporate partnerships.


  • USF faculty continue to earn national and international recognition. USF faculty earned 134 national and international awards in 2022.

  • USF faculty include 16 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and hundreds of fellows from disciplines across the academic spectrum (2022).

  • In 2022, six USF faculty were elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious honors for academic research. USF currently has a total of 94 AAAS Fellows among its faculty.

Updated: 9/1/2023