Florida universities partner to expand space research, technology

Kirby Kemper

Three Florida universities have signed an agreement to cooperate on space research and technology programs, including the creation of a joint institute to coordinate their activities.

Florida State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Florida Institute of Technology will combine their capabilities to pursue emerging research, technology development, and educational opportunities associated with government and commercial space and aerospace initiatives. The universities signed the agreement Oct. 5 in Orlando.

"This collaboration couldn’t be more timely or fitting for Florida or NASA," said Kirby Kemper, vice president for research at FSU. "The future of our country’s aerospace industry depends on a better-trained, domestically produced work force of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. With stronger ties to the space industry, Florida’s research universities can strengthen both their graduate training in these fields and their research capabilities as well."

"FSU, Florida Tech and Embry-Riddle each have unique aerospace-related capabilities, and our partnership on space programs can do much to expand and diversify the state of Florida’s role in the industry," said Rodney Piercey, dean of Embry-Riddle’s College of Arts and Sciences. "This is an exciting time for the space industry, with exploration, defense and commercialization programs accelerating in the United States and abroad."

"This is a winning partnership of public and private institutions, building on the strengths of some of the top space-related research and education programs in the United States," added Frank Kinney, vice provost for research at the Florida Institute of Technology. "With Florida Tech’s roots planted deeply in the U.S. space program, we welcome a collaboration that will further this mission."

The joint institute will be open to participation by other universities and will work to develop collaborative programs with government agencies such as NASA and Space Florida, as well as with commercial aerospace firms.