St. Petersburg, Florida chosen for marine technology research facility | SRI International

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SRI International Selects St. Petersburg, Florida for New Marine Technology R&D Facility

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- November 30, 2006 -- Silicon Valley-based SRI International, one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations, has selected St. Petersburg, Florida as the site for a new marine technology research facility, company officials announced today at a press conference in St. Petersburg with Mayor Rick Baker.

"Ocean science and technology are a growing national priority, and SRI's reputation has been built on providing high-value innovations to our clients. When we decided to broaden our R&D to include marine technology, Florida--and the Tampa Bay area in particular--became the logical choice," said Dr. Curtis Carlson, president and CEO of SRI International.  "The institutional infrastructure is in place, and the broad-based support we have received is already creating momentum and terrific potential for our new operation."

The new facility will be called SRI-St. Petersburg and aims to accelerate research and development of technologies related to ocean science, the maritime industry and port security. SRI's expansion into Florida is a collaboration with the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science and its Center for Ocean Technology and is supported by the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and the State.

"The expansion of SRI's world-class research and development (R&D) operations into the Tampa Bay-area exemplifies Florida's attractiveness to premier R&D institutes worldwide, and validates the strength of our marine science and research foundation," said Governor Jeb Bush.  "Not only will the presence of SRI have a tremendous impact on the continued growth of our bio-sciences base, the arrival of this renowned marine technology research institution to Florida will position us at the forefront of the nation's marine exploration and discovery efforts in ocean science, maritime industry, and port security.   I have been distinctly honored to work with the Florida Legislature to support SRI's expansion into Florida, and I applaud the outstanding collaboration of our academic, economic development, and statewide leaders to successfully bring this visionary project from idea to reality."

The new facility will be jump-started by transitioning up to 40 staff members from the Center for Ocean Technology. SRI-St. Petersburg plans to grow to 100 jobs over the next five years, bringing as much as $172 million to the local economy, and anticipates reaching a total of 200 jobs in the next 10 years. Operations are expected to begin by the first of the year.

"As one of the fastest-growing research universities in the country, USF is pleased to collaborate with SRI to advance our research initiatives further along the development path. This collaboration will have a positive and lasting impact on the university and on our region," said Dr. Judy Genshaft, president of University of South Florida.

"There's no question that we are thrilled to have a research organization as prestigious as SRI International join the St. Petersburg community," said Mayor Rick Baker.  "Our goal is to support the development of high-wage jobs and high-value research that will help further economic development in the region." 

Earlier this year, Governor Bush created a special incentive program to stimulate innovation, economic diversity, and to attract opportunities and organizations to the State of Florida. SRI will receive a $20 million Innovation Incentive Fund grant from the State of Florida. Contingent upon a formal agreement, the City of St. Petersburg will provide a site for SRI's new 30,000- to 35,000-square foot facility, and will design and construct the facility to accommodate 100 employees at the Port of St. Petersburg within the Bayboro area, a designated State Enterprise Zone. The city will lease the new facility directly to SRI. Funding for the design and construction of the new facility will be provided by the State of Florida and Pinellas County, which will each provide $5 million for the R&D facility.

SRI officials say their initial focus will be on research and development, technology transfer, and commercialization of marine science. Over time, they expect to broaden local research collaborations into additional areas, such as biosciences, nanotechnology, energy, the environment and education.

"While SRI-St. Petersburg is already a collaborative effort between multiple organizations and local governments, as it grows and develops, we expect it to generate strategic partnerships with other industry segments. This is exactly the kind of economic engine we need in the Tampa Bay area," said Kenneth Welch, chairman of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

"Today, we become partners with one of the best research institutes in the world, with a record for identifying and commercializing innovations. It strengthens our university, it strengthens our business community, and it attracts attention from the world interested in innovation, including the much sought-after venture capital community," said Stuart Rogel, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership.

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International ( is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships and creates spin-off companies.

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