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March 18, 2003

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Department of Education
(850) 201-7130

State Board of Education approves Centers of Excellence at the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic, University of Central Florida

TALLAHASSEE — The State Board of Education today approved three university research projects to become Florida's new Centers of Excellence.

The Centers of Excellence were proposed last year by Governor Jeb Bush to further high-level research in the state and to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace.

The three projects, which will be funded at $10 million each, are:

Center of Excellence in Regenerative Health Biotechnology, University of Florida — The center will stimulate promising research and commercialization that addresses the prevention, cure and rehabilitation of chronic, genetic and degenerative diseases as well as traumatic injuries, microbial infections and cancer. It will employ breakthrough technologies in gene therapy, tissue replacement, transplantation, biomaterials and vaccines.

Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology, Florida Atlantic University — The center will work in partnership with industry for the discovery, development and commercialization of new medicines from Florida's natural marine resources. Other partners include Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

Florida Photonics Center of Excellence, University of Central Florida — The center will develop intellectual capital in photonics and transition this knowledge to Florida's private sector. The center will build on UCF's success in the field of optics and will expand into the growing fields of nano-photonics, bio-photonics, advanced imaging and 3-D displays and ultra-high bandwith communications.

Information on the Centers of Excellence is available on the Florida Department of Education's Web site at