A $15 million Florida appropriation for the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research will enable the partnership to increase its momentum in capturing a part of the next-generation sensor industry for Florida, leaders said Thursday.

ICAMR will use the one-time $10 million appropriation to purchase tools and equipment for manufacturing. The $5 million in continuing funds puts the consortium in a strong strategic position to pursue federal contracts, attract industry, and proceed with plans for a design center that will strengthen consortium’s ability to capitalize on the burgeoning sensor economy for years to come.

ICAMR leaders and partners thanked supporters including the Central Florida legislative delegation, led by Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Gov. Rick Scott, and the many industry and community leaders who wrote letters and advocated for the project during the past several years.

“We are thankful for all who have so diligently carried the flag for ICAMR and we are looking forward to the returns this investment will bring to the state of Florida,” Chester Kennedy, ICAMR CEO said.

Osceola County, the University of Central Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Enterprise Florida and others have dedicated more than $162 million to develop the center that will be housed in a 109,000-square-foot advanced-manufacturing facility under construction in Osceola County.

Industry will use the facility to develop the tools and processes to manufacture sensors that connect people and their devices to the Internet of Things and enable devices of all kinds to communicate.

“We’ve assembled a great team that not only understands this project but is very capable of sharing that vision and getting decision-makers excited about the significance of what we are going to accomplish,” said Osceola County Manager Don Fisher. “This funding shows that the state is vested in the success of the project. Its commitment will play a key role in our efforts to continue to build our partnerships by bringing in top-flight companies and research organizations from around the world.”

UCF President John C. Hitt also thanked supporters and said ICAMR is “a game changer” poised to give Florida a global competitive advantage in advanced manufacturing.

“Here, in our nation’s fast-growing, third-largest state, our alliance stands to reinvent the future of nano-electronics research and development in this country and beyond,” Hitt said. “We will position Central Florida to be a high-tech magnet for 21st century international industry.”

Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, said: “The corridor connects 23 counties and their tech clusters to our three great universities (UCF, USF and UF) and ICAMR promises to exponentially expand this technology economy.”