UF Innovation Stations
FLEXStation will help Florida become a national leader in high tech industries through strategically placed UF Innovation Stations that will establish and grow partnerships with the private, academic/research, and public, sectors with the focus set clearly on expanding a region’s innovation economy. Innovation Stations will provide workforce development, access to faculty for consultation, pipelines to UF students for internships and employment, technology for commercialization, avenues to unique equipment and talent for R&D support, training infrastructure and myriad other assets to help grow Florida’s high tech ecosystem.
The Innovation Station works with the entrepreneurial community on programs that help them to gain systematic access to a pipeline of next generation engineering students who have outstanding interdisciplinary technical skills and have been immersed in engineering leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial experiences. The Innovation Station also focus on upskilling the regional workforce through specialized training offerings such as Coding Bootcamps, Technical Entrepreneurship and Innovation Training, and intensive startup simulations using the latest educational and experiential learning models.
Large companies will benefit from the Innovation Station as more students from every technical discipline are exposed to the region’s companies early and often in their time at UF, are provided with internships and other living-learning experiences, and are ultimately recruited and retained as long term employees in the region. Additionally, large companies can access unique UF faculty talent and infrastructure in R&D and technology development and deployments collaborations.
The Innovation Station partners with academic institutions to establish live-learn-work experiences (e.g., co-ops and internships) with regional companies to increase the pipeline of local residents into UF programs and then back into the community’s innovation ecosystem to serve as role models for future generations, collaborative research in areas such as resilient coastal communities and data science, and unique service-learning models targeted toward K-12.
The Innovation Station works with the public sector to position the region as a an attractive place for high tech leaders to build and grow their company. Direct access to UF students, faculty and infrastructure combined with a growing innovation ecosystem and quality of life sought by the creative class will drive high tech company recruitment and growth.
The network of UF Innovation Stations will serve the State of Florida to enable a regional service model providing access to UF resources in Gainesville and within the regions themselves. The operational strategy of these Innovation Stations is built on:
- A foundation of shared investment-shared benefit
- Partnerships with regional stakeholders including the private sector, academic / research / educational programs, the public sector, private citizens, and philanthropic organizations
- Developing local high tech industry and recruiting existing companies to Florida, enabling Florida industry to tap into the expertise of engineering faculty
The Sarasota region presents a unique opportunity to host the first UF Innovation Station. Please check the UF Innovation Station Sarasota County page to find out how Innovation Station is helping Sarasota with its innovation economy.