Points of Pride

USF Research & Innovation

  • 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 65 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 percent of all post-secondary institutions. USF is one of four public universities in the state of Florida classified as such (2022).
  • USF ranks 8th in the nation among public universities and 15th worldwide for granted U.S. patents among all universities according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association/NAI (2020), and has been among the Top 10 public universities for U.S. patents granted for nine consecutive years.
  • USF is designated by the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) as an Innovation & Economic Prosperity University, one of only 71 in the nation (2022).

  • USF had $354 million in total research expenditures in fiscal year 2019/20 (National Science Foundation HERD Survey).
  • USF was awarded a record $535.4 million in research contracts and grants in fiscal year 2020. According to the National Institutes of Health, every $1.00 in research funding brings in $2.63 in local economic growth. In FY2020, USF’s $535.4 million research funding alone supported more than 5,900 jobs and generated over $1.4 billion in local economic growth.

  • 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. Some 82% of the jobs created by USF innovation statewide are in the knowledge-based services sector.

  • In FY2021, USF had 111 new patents, along with 98 license/options and 11 new startup companies.
  • USF’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator serviced 62 resident and affiliate companies this past year. Its current companies have created more than 453 jobs and received $186 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 percent of TBTI companies focus on bio/life sciences and biotechnology and approximately 43 percent are commercializing technologies developed by USF researchers, with over 240 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 215 student-led companies to date, with approximately 27 new companies each year (FY2022).
  • Each year, more than 75 USF student research engagements are supported by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council Matching Grants Program. 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 aerospace, renewable energy, healthy aging, drug formulation, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, cancer research, artificial intelligence, and more.

  • In 2015, 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.

  • The USF I-Corps Site has trained more than 295 teams, with 32 teams selected for 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 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 U.S. universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes. The NAI’s nationally recognized Fellows program has 1,567 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 53,000 issued patents. USF has 29 NAI Fellows. The USF Chapter of the NAI has over 600 USF faculty, staff, students and alumni members, who collectively hold more than 2,900 U.S. patents (2022).
  • The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FloridaInvents.org) was founded at USF in 2013. As of 2022, 58 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. Nearly 2,000 people are directly employed in jobs created by the USF innovation enterprise, producing a $548 million annual statewide economic impact (2019).


  • USF faculty continue to earn national and international recognition. In 2021: USF faculty received 145 highly prestigious honors and awards.

  • USF faculty include 16 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and hundreds of Fellows from disciplines across the academic spectrum (2021).
  • In 2021, ten 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 92 AAAS Fellows among its faculty.

Updated: 6/27/2022