UF Innovation Station Sarasota County
UF Innovation Station Sarasota County is the first physical extension of FLEXStation in Florida providing access to unique and high-value UF resources. Sarasota is uniquely positioned with an abundant and diverse creative class, a business and tech community with a wide range of advancements, a diverse and enhanced physical environment attractive to innovators, a breadth and depth of experienced leadership talent and an up-and-coming start-up community. The UF Innovation Station Sarasota County focuses on establishing and growing partnerships with the private, academic, and public sectors in the region with the focus set clearly on growing the region’s innovation economy.
Partnerships with the Private, Academic and Public Sectors to Deliver Real and Lasting Value
The UF Innovation Station Sarasota County is establishing opportunities for students from K-12 and through college careers and ultimately infusion as industry and entrepreneurial innovation leaders in the region’s creative class. Working with public private and academic sector partners, the Innovation Station is implementing programs to provide life-changing opportunities for students at critical points in their career advancement and resources for companies to start and grow. The Innovation Station:
- Works with Sarasota regional startup to large companies to establish an engineering talent pipeline. Activities include targeted recruiting fairs, promotion of internship and co-op experiences, and student learning experiences in the Sarasota region, avenues to engage in engineering senior capstone design programs such as the UF Integrated Product and Process Design Program, and opportunities for entrepreneurs, companies and executives to engage with UF’s students ranging from speaking in classrooms to guiding student entrepreneurial teams, projects and start-up companies.
- Connects UF technology opportunities to the Sarasota region entrepreneur and investor community with flexibility to accommodate opportunities ranging from early stage (Seed funding for Minimum Viable Product / Proof of Concept) to growth (product line extension), including opportunities for regional executive talent to engage with UF startups. The Innovation Station also establishes access points to UF prototyping facilities and expertise for companies to grow.
- Works with the academic and private sectors to establish workforce development training opportunities such as coding boot camps, tech entrepreneurship training, and specialized offerings through distance education and hybrid models that serve to up-skill citizens for employment in high-tech fields.
- Matches regional research and technology needs with UF researcher expertise and one-of-a-kind infrastructure – resulting in short-term, deliverables focused, applied R&D which can include company confidential or proprietary projects. The Innovation Station will also match longer term industry needs in fundamental research to UF faculty expertise, research programs, and labs.
- Establishes a K-12 outreach program to create service learning experiences to pipeline students to UF and then back into the community post-graduation to serve as role models for future generations. These outreach activities take forms such as connecting UF faculty, students and staff with high performing students face to face or utilizing electronic delivery infrastructure and leveraging programs such as STEMsmart middle school TechActive Classrooms of Tomorrow and high school Technology-Enhanced Learning Studios. The Innovation Station also creates research and innovation experiences for highly accomplished students prior to university matriculation. These experiences may include short courses and opportunities to conduct research in UF labs over the summer or opportunities to engage with UF faculty and graduate students during the school year. This program is made possible by a generous gift from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.
- Creates the Gator Engineering at State College of Florida program, an innovative B.S. engineering degree program similar to Gator Engineering at Santa Fe that allows a cohort of students to begin their coursework at State College of Florida, gain admission to UF as early as their first spring semester, continue coursework at State College of Florida for approximately two more semesters (or until completion of all critical math and science courses), and then move to the UF campus to complete their courses in their major. This program is made possible by a generous gift from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.
- Establishes the UF Engineering Innovators program that will pipeline UF Engineering Innovation Institute students to the region. UF will offer a minor in Engineering Innovation comprising courses in Engineering Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Creativity, and Leadership, combined with a co-op in a regional startup company. UF offers loan forgiveness to cover the tuition costs for the minor through a generous gift from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
Impacts to the Innovation Economy
Economic Impact through creation of high tech-high wage jobs, establishing a pipeline of engineering talent and technology to serve the region, supporting creation of new startup companies, providing access to unique R&D talent and infrastructure, and supporting development of an educated workforce to serve the innovation economy.
Rebranding the Region by contributing to a unique innovation economy. This partnership can provide international visibility and prestige for Sarasota, UF and Florida while engaging internationally recognized leaders with UF faculty.
Impact to Future Generations of Floridians by establishing public-private partnerships to build pathways to success from K-12 through high-tech careers. The partners will provide new opportunities for bright young minds to craft lifetime opportunities, and then serve as role models for future generations.
Our Partners in The UF Innovation Station Sarasota County