The University of Central Florida got $1.3 million in grants to offer two new programs to retrain those who will lose their jobs as the space shuttle program ends.

The grants are part of the 2010 New Florida Initiative program, which awarded 11 universities $10 million for 31 projects on Nov. 15. The goal of the program is to create partnerships among universities in the areas of health, science and engineering while creating high-wage jobs. Grants awarded to UCF cover space technology, nanoscience, work force development, engineering and medicine.

UCF’s College of Engineering & Computer Science will use one grant to create a Florida Center of Excellence in Advanced Aero-propulsion in partnership with Florida State University. Certificate programs will be offered in the areas of active flow and noise control, which play critical roles in today’s aerospace, propulsion and power-generation industries.

The grant also will pay for research initiatives aimed at developing innovative engineering technology. The technology is expected to create jobs and new companies. One area of particular interest is wind tunnel technology. A portion of the grant also will help sponsor a week-long summer engineering camp for high school students interested in this field.

Another grant will help UCF’s Department of Physics work with Space Florida and the Kennedy Space Center to create a Center for Microgravity Research. The goal is to establish Florida as an international center for microgravity research, a new area with plenty of economic opportunities.

The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the second largest in the nation with more than 56,000 students.

Source: Orlando Business Journal, UCF lands $1.3M in retraining grants, Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 10:44am EST