Diversifying Industrial R&D Key To Future Of Florida's High-Tech Enterprise

September 29, 1997

New Report Predicts Long-Term Uncertainty in Florida's Federal R&D Funding

(Washington, DC) -- Florida's ability to diversify its nondefense industrial R&D programs will be essential to its future as a high-tech leader in the 21st century, according to a report released today in Orlando by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The report, to be presented today at the conference "High-Tech Florida Means Business: The Future of Science and Technology in Florida," points out that the state's strong aerospace technology programs and university research system will help Florida hold on to its federal R&D funding next year, but the long-term forecast is still unpredictable. The conference is cosponsored by AAAS, the Office of the Governor, the State University System of Florida, Enterprise Florida, and numerous Florida businesses.

The report The Future of Science and Technology in Florida: Trends and Indicators, states that increases in federal R&D activities expected in 1998 may be short-lived due to the cuts being proposed in the year 2000 and beyond to balance the budget. Florida is ranked seventh in the nation as a recipient of federal R&D funding, receiving $2.4 billion in FY 1995 (the last year for which data is available).

According to the report, Florida's industrial firms are the major recipients of federal R&D funding, receiving 65 percent ($1.57 billion) of the state's obligations in FY 1995. The Department of Defense, whose long-term strategy is to decrease R&D funding, supplies more than 70 percent of Florida's federal R&D funds.

"Florida's industrial firms will significantly influence the state's R&D enterprise," said Al Teich, director of Science and Policy Programs at AAAS who will present the report at the meeting. "To remain in the forefront of high-tech research, it will be critical for industry and university leaders to identify nondefense R&D programs that utilize the strengths of existing projects. Diversity in defense and nondefense areas will help protect Florida's R&D enterprise from traumatic changes."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media interested in copies of the report must contact Dave Amber at 202-326-6434

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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