March 29, 2015

Marine Sciences

High-Water Mark

USF's Peter Betzer has used both academic and political acumen to build a powerhouse marine program -- and has capped his tenure with a big high-tech partnership with a Silicon Valley firm.

Amy Keller | 2/1/2007

Waterfront: The Knight Oceanographic Research Center overlooks Bayboro Harbor in St. Petersburg. [Photo: Mark Wemple]

SRI International

Founded: In 1946 as the Stanford Research Institute, SRI International is a non-profit research institute based in Menlo Park, Calif., that conducts research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, foundations and others. With its team of venture capitalists, the organization licenses its intellectual property and brings new innovations to the marketplace, including the computer mouse and high-definition television. Over the past decade, SRI clients have sponsored more than $2 billion in R&D.

SRI Innovations

? The VoxTec Phraselator, a hand-held language translator that enables U.S. soldiers deployed in foreign lands to communicate with local citizens quickly.

? Centibots, teams of coordinated autonomous mobile robots that explore, map and survey unfamiliar environments.

? Deployable Force-on-Force Instrumented Range System, which uses GPS satellites, high-speed wireless communications and digital terrain map displays to train armored combat units during battle exercises.

Recent SRI Spinoffs

? Lamina Ceramics

  • Founded: 2001
  • Headquarters: Westampton, N.J.
  • What It Does: Develops and manufactures super-bright LED light engines.

? Artificial Muscle Inc.

  • Founded: 2003
  • Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.
  • What It Does: Manufactures electroactive polymer artificial muscle components, which are smaller, lighter, quieter and cheaper than other components used in speakers, generators, motors, pumps and other devices.

? Intuitive Surgical

  • Founded: 1999
  • Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • What It Does: Manufactures tools for robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery.

SRI St. Petersburg

Planned Initiatives

? PharmAdvance: A Florida version of SRI's successful PharmaStart model, which shows researchers how to turn new drug discoveries into marketable pharmaceutical products via the clinical trial process.

? Regional Economic Development Study: Prepared by SRI's economic development group in coordination with regional economic development agencies.

? Port Security Initiative: A multi-institutional program to create a center of excellence for port and maritime security in Florida.

? Center for Independent Aging: A new collaboration designed to assess and develop technologies and policies impacting social, technological and economic issues associated with an aging population.

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Health care spending in Florida: The state is about to lose $2 billion in federal funds for the Low-Income Pool (LIP). Which legislative body is right?

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