Points of Pride

USF Research & Innovation

  • USF is one of 56 public research universities nationwide classified as a Doctoral University with “Highest Research Activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The title of “Highest Research Activity” is a distinction attained by only 3% of all post-secondary institutions, making USF one of five public universities in the state of Florida classified as such.
  • USF ranks 8th in the nation among public universities and 16th worldwide for granted U.S. patents among all universities according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association/NAI (2019), and has ranked in the Top 10 among public universities for U.S. patents granted for the past 10 years (2010–2019).
  • USF is designated by the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) as an Innovation & Economic Prosperity University, one of only 64 in the nation (2019).
  • USF was awarded a record $525.4 million in research contracts and grants in fiscal year 2019. According to the National Institutes of Health, every $1.00 in research funding brings in $2.21 in local economic growth. In FY2019, USF’s $525.4 million research funding alone supported more than 5,900 jobs and generated over $1 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 FY2020, USF had 135 new patents, along with 102 license/options and 11 new startup companies.
  • USF was ranked #19 among the “Best Universities for Technology Transfer, 2017” by the prestigious Milken Institute.
  • USF’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator serviced 70 resident and affiliate companies this past year. Its current companies have created more than 350 jobs and received $157 million in external 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 55 percent of TBTI companies focus on bio and life sciences and nearly 50 percent are commercializing technologies developed by USF researchers, with over 220 patents received by incubated companies to date.

  • USF has a robust new product pipeline with 69 products on the market; 12 USF technologies in human clinical trials, 9 in Phase II; and 36 products at preclinical, development and prototype stage.

  • USF’s Student Innovation Incubator, which was launched in 2013 at the request of students eager to start their own companies, has supported 146 student-led companies to date, with approximately 25 new companies each year (FY2020).
  • 83 USF students were supported by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council Matching Grants Program in FY2020. These undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students gained hands-on experience working side by side with local companies and USF faculty on applied research projects. Such projects have focused on cybersecurity, renewable energy, healthy aging, drug formulation, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, cancer research, drone technology, 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 255 teams, with 28 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 1,403 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 47,000 patents. USF has 25 NAI Fellows. The USF Chapter of the NAI has over 450 USF faculty, staff, students and alumni members, who collectively hold more than 2,400 U.S. patents (2019).
  • The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FloridaInvents.org) was founded at USF in 2013. As of 2020, 51 outstanding Florida inventors have been elected, including 10 from USF.
  • In accordance with the mission of bringing together private entrepreneurs and university researchers to foster collaboration and innovation, nearly 1,500 people work or learn in the USF Research Park. The Research Park received recognition as the Emerging Research Park of the Year in 2008, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council Award of Distinction, IT Florida’s Excellence in New Business Recruitment Award and the Florida Economic Development Council's Deal of the Year Award. With more than 112 acres on the north and south sides of Fowler Avenue, USFRP is directly adjacent to and a part of the University of South Florida community.


  • USF faculty continue to earn national and international recognition. In 2019, USF faculty received 141 new highly prestigious honors and awards.

  • USF faculty include 14 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and dozens of Fellows from disciplines across the academic spectrum.
  • USF ranked 4th worldwide for organizations with the most Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named in 2019, a rank USF has held for the past five years. As of 2020, USF had a total of 81 AAAS Fellows among its faculty.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked USF #3 in the nation for Top Producer of Fulbright Scholars, with 9 faculty scholars for the 2019-20120 academic year.


  • Brain and Spinal Cord, including neuroscience, neuromorphic computing, cognitive sciences, aging, hearing loss, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases, prostheses, and spinal cord and traumatic brain injury prevention and mitigation.

  • Data Science, including data analytics, financial data analysis, pattern recognition in big data, digital visualization, electronic health records, health informatics and digital humanities.

  • Heart, spanning basic, translational and clinical research, and cardiovascular disease-related care, with emphasis on biological systems research that would be applicable across areas that contribute to cardiovascular disease.

  • Human Security, spanning cybersecurity, global security, military research, food security, spread and control of infectious diseases, promoting civil societies and social networks.

  • Water, spanning marine science, purification, supply and management, ocean ecology, coastal ecosystems, fisheries, natural hazards and sustainability.

  • Research Translation of intellectual property into products, industry collaborations, software services, startups, processes, and policies that improve the human condition, including supporting economic development and job creation.

Updated: 1/7/2021