FSU receives $6M to close gap between research and real-world solutions

Florida State University is one of 18 universities nationwide receiving a first-of-its-kind award from the National Science Foundation that will boost translational research and help scientists scale their work into products and solutions that can ultimately move from the lab into the public sphere.

The Accelerating Research Translation (ART) investment provided more than $100 million to 18 teams at academic institutions across the nation. Florida State University will receive $6 million over four years to identify and build research that shows commercialization potential, mature our technology transfer expertise, and to support the training of entrepreneurial faculty and students.

“FSU is rapidly growing its entrepreneurial culture,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “We are committed to empowering our faculty and others to transform their research into successful startups. As the founder of two companies myself, I understand the impact that promoting entrepreneurship can have on both the university and the surrounding community. This investment from the National Science Foundation is an exciting step toward realizing our vision.”

FSU’s winning proposal, IGNITE-FSU (Inspiring the Generation of New Ideas and Translational Excellence at Florida State University) lays out an ambitious four-year plan to provide programming and other training opportunities for the FSU and broader Tallahassee community, the creation of mentoring programs for budding entrepreneurs, the launch of new seed funding programs aimed at translational research and new partnerships that support an innovation ecosystem.

“Universities are uniquely positioned with expert talent, a culture of curiosity, and the complex facilities needed to explore the art of the possible and develop and translate innovation to keep our competitive edge,” said Vice President for Research Stacey Patterson. “This award builds on momentum across the university to build our translational research portfolio and transform those research projects into entrepreneurial ventures. We are excited to work with NSF and our other partners on ART.”

This award builds upon several policies and initiatives FSU senior leadership has put in motion over the past year to spur entrepreneurship at the university, including:

  • Fast Start, a simplified tech transfer program that will allow FSU researchers to bring their own technology to market quickly.
  • 1Clik Licensing, a program that allows industry to license FSU technologies the same way a shopper puts something in an Amazon cart.
  • A new partnership with Tallahassee-based incubator Domi Station, allowing greater access to FSU’s research and development resources while giving FSU faculty and students the opportunity to work with DOMI businesses on projects and internships.

The university also hired the first-ever Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Innovation, Valerie Landrio McDevitt, who started in December.

“I’m excited to have joined FSU at a transformational time for the university,” McDevitt said. “As the university enhances its translational research work, we are also building the infrastructure to be able to move that work from the lab into the commercial sphere. This support from NSF is a major boost to that effort.”

IGNITE-FSU will be rolled out in phases and will include significant programming for students, faculty and staff. Additional announcements will be made in the coming months detailing new opportunities and milestones related to the project.