Innovative University of Central Florida programs that help emerging businesses are creating and retaining thousands of high-wage jobs in Central Florida’s “knowledge economy.”
Those efforts begin with the outstanding work that faculty members and students conduct in university research labs, M.J. Soileau, vice president for Research and Commercialization, told the Board of Trustees on Thursday during its November meeting.
“Our faculty and students do research with national and international impact,” Soileau said.
Among UCF’s many success stories that were recognized for their innovation and impact:
UCF researchers are national leaders for the impact of their patents. The university ranks third among U.S. universities in the latest patent impact rankings from IEEE, the world’s leading association for the advancement of technology.
The Venture Lab helps entrepreneurs vet ideas for new companies and conduct market research, enabling them to develop business plans with high growth potential.
UCF’s Business Incubation Program develops homegrown companies that succeed at very high rates and remain loyal to their communities. Services include shared conference space, mentoring and flexible leases that allow companies to add or subtract space as needed. Clients of the program accounted for more than 2,700 direct and indirect jobs in the region in 2009.
GrowFL, a program administered by UCF’s Economic Gardening Institute, helps businesses that have grown beyond the incubation stage. GrowFL, which offers services that include CEO roundtables and mentoring, has helped more than 300 Florida companies create more than 3,200 jobs since 2009.
Also at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting:
Trustees approved a new domestic partner benefits program. Beginning in early 2012, eligible employees with same-sex domestic partners can apply for stipends to help pay for their partners’ health care coverage. UCF’s program is similar to those offered by other state universities; state law prohibits coverage of domestic partners in universities’ traditional health plans. More information about eligibility and how to apply for the stipends will be distributed soon to employees.
President John C. Hitt presented Rick Walsh with a plaque, which recognizes the chair emeritus status awarded to him in September. Walsh served as a trustee for 10 years and as the board’s chair for four years.
Trustees also approved the conferral of about 4,700 degrees at fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 15 and 16 at the UCF Arena. They also voted to award an honorary doctorate in Public Service to James A. Hinson, whose extensive community involvement includes service as chair of the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation and Dr. Phillips Inc.