Business & Economy

UWF Office of Economic Development and Engagement announces industry research matching grant program

The University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement recently launched a $1.5 million matching grant program to connect Northwest Florida businesses with research resources available through UWF.

The new program, called the Northwest Florida Industry Research Matching Grants Program, makes UWF faculty, staff and students available to participating businesses to promote job creation in Northwest Florida by aiding in the development of new, commercially viable intellectual property that could net new revenue for the region and state.

“We’re excited to launch the Industry Research Matching Grants Program, which is yet another first in what is becoming a long line of innovative economic development and community engagement initiatives that UWF is undertaking,” said Brice Harris, director of strategic initiatives with OEDE. “This program, which is modeled after a similar effort by the Florida High Tech Corridor that has been in operation for nearly two decades, holds the potential to foster a $6 million portfolio of activities with the aim of supporting research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification and high-wage job creation throughout Northwest Florida. Additionally, this program responds further to the need for UWF to work more closely with the private sector to provide sustainable employment opportunities for our graduates.”

OEDE will accept proposals from businesses operating in any industry, with priority on bids received from firms in aerospace, aviation, information technology and services, manufacturing design, marine technologies, transportation systems, financial services, medical products, microelectronics, software development, medical technologies and telecommunications.

Participating businesses will be required to contribute at least $3 for every $1 provided by the matching-grant program. Businesses interested in participating in the grant program must work with a UWF faculty or staff member to draft a proposal they will submit to OEDE for review by a committee.

OEDE expects to award grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, and the office will accept bids until the entire $1.5 million is allocated.

Ownership of intellectual property developed through the program will vary by project. But, it is expected that UWF and the participating business will retain rights to the intellectual property, with the business having preference for use and licensure.