Tom O'Neal testifies at a U.S. Senate committee meeting Thursday. (Photo: Rick Reinhard)

University of Central Florida’s Thomas O’Neal will be testifying Thursday, July 14, about the revolutionary nature of nanotechnology before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space.

The Subcommittee is part of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Committee Chairman, John Rockefeller IV invited O’Neal to provide his expert testimony as the group considers reauthorizing the National Nanotechnology Initiative . Sen. Bill Nelson will preside over the hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. in room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

O’Neal, the associate vice president of the Office of Research and Commercialization at UCF, is the founder and executive director of the well-known UCF Business Incubation Program. He was asked to speak about how UCF has succeeded in technology transfer, industry partnerships and the overall impact on economic development.

“Central Florida is in many ways a model for how governments, the university and industry can work together to grow the companies that stimulate the economy,” O’Neal said.  “The committee is interested specifically in how research in nanotechnology can be developed through systems like ours.”

O’Neal is president of the Florida Business Incubation Association and serves on the board of directors for the National Business Incubation Association. He is a leading U.S. proponent of business incubation and economic gardening efforts to stimulate local economic growth.

O’Neal, who’s led UCF’s incubation efforts for the past decade, calls nanotechnology a revolutionary field of science and technology, comparable to the introduction of electricity, biotechnology, and digital information revolutions.

Since its founding in 1999, the UCF Incubation Program has helped more than 200 emerging companies (including 108 current clients) create more than $500 million in annual revenue and more than 900 new jobs with an average salary of $59,000. With nine facilities across the metro Orlando community, the Incubation Program is a collaboration in economic development between UCF, Orange County, the City of Orlando, Seminole County, the City of Winter Springs, the City of Sanford, Lake County, the City of Leesburg, the City of St. Cloud and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.