Elite innovation at Central Florida’s partnership university

UCF is one of the nation’s 16 leading universities when it comes to innovation and economic prosperity, according to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

The University of Central Florida, which joins the ranks of The Ohio State University and the universities of Michigan, Georgia and Minnesota on the inaugural list, was recognized for offering several programs that stimulate economic growth in Central Florida and aggressively pursuing partnerships that benefit the region. Also, UCF was recognized for recruiting top students and faculty members in fields vital to the region’s economy, promoting a campus culture that can adapt quickly to meet regional needs and for effective leadership.

Collaborating with local partners, UCF has achieved significant milestones in the areas of innovation and economic development. Among them are UCF’s Business Incubation Program, GrowFL, the Blackstone LaunchPad and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. The incubation program recently graduated its 100th company, edgefctory, and from October 2011 through December 2012 its network of current/graduate clients created a regional output of more than $400 million—almost $6 in return for every $1 invested in the program. GrowFL, administered by UCF’s Economic Gardening Institute, has helped more than 400 Florida companies grow at a rate three times faster than their peers, adding more than 4,100 direct and indirect jobs. The Blackstone LaunchPad empowers student entrepreneurs. The Florida High Tech Corridor Council, conceived by Hitt in 1996 as a partnership with the University of South Florida, University of Florida and economic development organizations, has created an estimated 4,000 jobs and served more than 375 companies.

In addition, UCF was hailed for academic programs focused on industries that are deemed vital to Central Florida’s economy, including the College of Medicine, Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, College of Optics and Photonics, Institute for Simulation and Training, and College of Engineering and Computer Science.