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MEDIA ADVISORY

November 15, 2006

Bill Edmonds, Director of Communications
(850) 245-0466

Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board will hold conference call Thursday to correct error in tabulating Centers of Excellence recommendations

The Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board will hold a conference call at 9 a.m. EST Thursday, November 16, to discuss a tabulation error that affected its recommendations for university-based Centers of Excellence.

Members of the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board heard presentations of 19 university proposals Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, board staff reviewed the process and discovered an error in the tabulation of those votes, which were used to create a ranking of proposals. That ranking was the basis for the board's discussion of which proposals were to be recommended for funding and at what levels.

The discrepancy caused a proposal from Florida State University for a Power and Energy Center of Excellence to be ranked second among the 19 proposals. Had the tabulation error not occurred, the FSU proposal would have been ranked lower.

No funds have yet been awarded, as the recommendations must first go to the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida for review and approval.

At the conference call, members of the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board will discuss how to rectify the ranking error and how to amend its recommendations, which are to go before the Board of Governors for consideration when it meets at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

The 21st Century Technology, Research and Scholarship Enhancement Act provides for $30 million to fund university-based Centers of Excellence. The initial recommendations of the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board, released Monday, called for Florida State University's proposal to receive $8.5 million in funding.

Three other Centers of Excellence proposals were recommended by the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board. The ranking of those proposals was not affected by the tabulation error.

The other proposals receiving recommendations were:

  • The University of South Florida, for a Florida Center for Excellence in Bimolecular Identification & Targeted Therapeutics, with funding of $10 million.
  • Florida Atlantic University, for a Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology, with funding of $5.75 million.
  • The University of Florida, for a Florida Institute for Sustainable Energy — Energy Technology Incubator, with funding of $5.75 million.

Members of the media are asked to use land lines, not cell phones, as cell phones can cause interference, and to refrain from placing their phones on hold, so that other participants on the call do not hear on-hold music or messages.

The 21st Century Technology, Research and Scholarship Enhancement Act, established during the 2006 session of the Florida Legislature, provided for the creation of university-based Centers of Excellence to give Florida a position of leadership in key areas of emerging technology.

The act established the Florida Technology, Research and Scholarship Board to develop and approve criteria for evaluating proposals for the creating or expanding Centers of Excellence and to review and make recommendations regarding Centers of Excellence to the Board of Governors.

For the statutory language and other background information on the 21st Century Technology, Research and Scholarship Enhancement Act, see http://www.flbog.org/21stCentury/.