How does St. Petersburg benefit from having a strong marine science presence in its downtown?
Florida is a national and global economic engine fueled by its ocean business and other related activities. It is a knowledge-based economy that relies heavily on data, information and technology to address societal challenges and inspire solutions. It’s a blue economy. In that vein, St. Petersburg, specifically, is a hub for scientific discovery, innovation and application. It’s a place where scientists, scholars, business leaders and entrepreneurs co-mingle to discover, create, innovate and inspire those solutions.
What are the biggest challenges to Downtown’s Blue Tech Industry?
Everybody wants to be here. Cool things are happening in St. Pete. Accommodating the projected growth and aspirations will definitely be the biggest challenge in the years ahead. This means finding space for businesses, finding space for community programs, and for affordable housing for all of these folks. We’re reimagining collaborative workspaces, efficient transportation and communication systems and access to affordable housing. We know that we need to grow smarter. It’s all about achieving a common vision through effective planning and community partnerships.
What can you tell us about the Center of Excellence and plans for a new research and teaching facility?
This past year the University of South Florida advanced a bold new plan to create an Interdisciplinary Center of Excellence in Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences here on the USF St. Petersburg campus. The Center builds upon the well-chronicled scientific advancements and achievements of USF’s College of Marine Science.
A key element of the Center is a new state-of-the-art research and teaching facility that will be housed at the College of Marine Science. We envision a vibrant Center of Excellence that serves as a globally recognized model for scientific discovery, innovation and application. The work we do will be timely, relevant and impactful.
What do you believe having the Center of Excellence established in Downtown will do for Downtown, students enrolled in blue tech studies, and surrounding blue tech institutions?
The Center of Excellence and the new Environmental and Oceanographic Science Research and Teaching facility will be a catalyst for creative scholarship. It will serve as an attractor for talented faculty, researchers and students. It will allow for the development of new interdisciplinary degree programs, provide opportunities for students and businesses alike through internships and employment opportunities. The Center of Excellence will help to solidify the area’s identity as a nexus for all things blue.
Complete this sentence. Downtown St. Pete is a place to _____.
It is a place to discover, create, innovate and inspire solutions.