"High-Tech Florida Means Business" Focus Of National AAAS Conference

September 22, 1997

GAINESVILLE --- Many of Florida's industry, government and higher education leaders will gather in Orlando Sept. 29-30 to participate in a statewide conversation on the "The Future of Science and Technology in Florida."

The meeting will focus on key elements of Florida's high-tech economy, including aerospace, biomedical research, agriculture, microelectronics and materials sciences, and computer sciences.

The meeting is co-sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the State University System of Florida, Enterprise Florida, numerous Florida businesses and the Washington, D.C.-based American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

This will be the seventh in a series of conferences in which the AAAS has partnered with a state or region. Successful conferences already have been held in Alaska, California, Georgia, the Midwest, New England and the Pacific Northwest.

"As we prepare to enter the 21st century, it is essential that government, business and academia continue to work together to ensure that our state maintains and enhances its position as home to advanced science and technology," said Karen A. Holbrook, vice president for research at the University of Florida and one of the conference organizers.

Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay will give the keynote speech at the conference, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. Among the other participants will be John Ahlen of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Rick Korchak, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida Technology Development; U.S. Rep. David J. Weldon; and Albert H. Teich, director, AAAS Science and Policy Programs.

"Although most outsiders know it largely for its sunshine, its beaches and its oranges, Florida is very much a high-tech state," said Teich, who will present an analysis of the state's research and development activity and trends in federal, state and private sector [research and development] spending. "It is, in fact, the seventh-largest recipient of federal R&D funding. Industrial firms and the universities and government labs, which are their partners in research, represent the cutting edge of science and technology in the state. AAAS is pleased to play a role in this landmark conference, bringing these sectors together to help shape the future of science and technology in Florida."

The conference also will include sessions on constraints and opportunities for high-tech businesses in Florida, including: State University System Chancellor Charles B. Reed will moderate a panel that includes four Florida college and university presidents and two business leaders. UF President John Lombardi, University of South Florida President Betty Castor, University of Central Florida President John Hitt and Broward Community College President Willis N. Holcombe will be joined by Schwartz; Peter P. Panousis, president and CEO of Cirent Semiconductor; and George Mezo, director of worldwide customer support for Oracle Corp.

Some 30 business and academic research centers are expected to display their technologies and services at the conference.

More information about the conference, including registration forms, is available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ortge.ufl.edu/aaas/


University of Florida

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