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 56 public research university campuses classified by the Carnegie Foundation as both a Doctoral University with “Highest Research Activity” and as a “Community Engaged” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The title of “Highest Research Activity” is a distinction attained by only 3% of all post-secondary institutions. USF is one of five public universities in the state of Florida classified as such (2018).
  • 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 69 in the nation (2020).

  • 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 66 resident and affiliate companies this past year. Its current companies have created more than 418 jobs and received $180 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 and life sciences and approximately 44 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 192 student-led companies to date, with approximately 25 new companies each year (FY2021).
  • 82 USF student research engagements were supported by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council Matching Grants Program in FY2021. 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 31 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 42,700 patents. USF has 26 NAI Fellows. The USF Chapter of the NAI has over 550 USF faculty, staff, students and alumni members, who collectively hold more than 2,650 U.S. patents (2020).
  • The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame (FloridaInvents.org) was founded at USF in 2013. As of 2021, 58 outstanding Florida inventors have been elected, including 11 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 2020: USF faculty received 119 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).
  • USF ranked 4th worldwide for organizations with the most Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named in 2020, a rank USF has held for the past six years. As of 2020, USF had a total of 81 AAAS Fellows among its faculty.

Updated: 12/15/2021