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Research Florida: The business of innovation

Anuradha Godavarty
Anuradha Godavarty, associate professor of biomedical engineering at FIU, is but one of many researchers profiled in Research Florida [Photo: Daniel Portnoy]

Researchers throughout Florida are on the cutting-edge of discoveries in medicine, technology, agriculture, energy and engineering that will impact people worldwide. Florida Trend examines innovation in these sectors. This is the first installment in a two-part series.
» Explore Research Florida 2013

Featured today:
» University Snapshots: Portable imaging, gold nanoparticles, neural protection, mad cow disease detection
» Private Institutes: Sanford-Burnham, Scripps, Max Planck, Torrey Pines
» One for the Birds: Archbold Biological Station in south-central Florida draws researchers from all over the world

Environmentalists missing from water-management boards

For the first time in nearly three decades, none of the Florida's water-management agencies — which are supposed to safeguard the state's wetlands, rivers and aquifers — has a board member who is an environmentalist. Environmental activists are troubled because the boards are dominated by representatives of agribusiness, real estate and development industries. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

» State budget includes $10 million for St. Johns River restoration, study

Small tech company contracts with Latin American pair

Advanced Magnet Lab, a Palm Bay company that finds practical uses for superconductivity, has joined an international business and research venture with a pair of Latin American companies. Advanced Magnet Lab’s agreement adds an international element for the small high-tech company. Superconductivity involves electricity that has zero resistance and no related energy loss. Its practical application, so far, has been largely limited to scientific and medical equipment like multiple resonance imaging. [Source: Florida Today]

Many 'takeout' insurers fail

Despite Florida having no major hurricanes in the past seven years, one-third of the insurance companies that have taken over policies previously held by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. have gone belly up — and cost taxpayers $400 million. As Citizens intensifies its efforts to turn over policies to smaller insurers — what industry officials call "takeout" policies — there is a growing fear that the young, untested companies will not be able to withstand the hurricane season. While the takeout firms have all been vetted by the state's Office of Insurance Regulation, some resemble OIR-approved companies that ultimately failed after assuming Citizens policies: They are young, growing rapidly and reliant on government incentives to sustain their operations. [Source: Times/Herald]

» However, many insurers are making great profit

Experts predict two more years of solvency for Medicare

Reduced health care costs are breathing a little life into the trust fund that supports the Medicare program, adding two years to its lifespan since last year’s report. The prospects for Social Security, another important lifeline for retirees, remain unchanged, according to the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees. The long term health of both programs is in danger unless changes are made to eligibility requirements, benefits are cut or taxes increase. Read more from the Palm Beach Post.


› Congressman Joe Garcia's chief of staff resigns over probe
Congressman Joe Garcia on Saturday attempted to control the damage inflicted on his office, when he dismissed his chief of staff for apparently orchestrating a scheme to submit hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests.

› Hollywood okays Margaritaville resort deal
Commissioners voted last week to allow developers of the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort to take possession of city property and begin construction. The 349-room resort, which will be built at A1A and Johnson Street, is projected to cost $147 million and take 27 months to build. From Trend: A resort for a song

› Why Keith Poliakoff left Becker & Poliakoff
Keith Poliakoff said he simply saw a better fit for his practice at Arnstein & Lehr. The turning point came when Arnstein hired state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla away from the Becker firm a few months back. The two had worked together for seven years.

› Muslim inmates seek kosher prison meals
Attorneys for the Muslim prisoners say they are unable to get halal meals, which are those prepared under Islamic law. The Muslims say they would also accept the kosher diet as an alternative.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Florida colleges to drop remedial classes for thousands
Starting in 2014, a large segment of students will be able to immediately enroll in college-level courses, regardless of their academic abilities. They will not have to take remedial courses or even a placement test, which is required by community colleges to detect gaps in learning.

› Trial starts for doctors accused of roles in patients' deaths
Federal prosecutors say they can prove that two South Florida doctors prescribed powerful, addictive pain pills in such an irresponsible way that they should be held criminally accountable for the deaths of nine patients.

› Disney hikes ticket prices at Florida, California parks
Two weeks after Universal Orlando Resort became the first Orlando theme park to break the $90 threshold for a single-day, single-park ticket, Walt Disney World Resort has announced adult admission to the Magic Kingdom will increase $6, to $95 ($89 ages 3-9).

› Fla. lawmakers-turned-lobbyists fuel revolving door of politics
A steady number of former Florida lawmakers are finding jobs in the lucrative influence business, adding to nearly 340 members of Congress who have breezed through the revolving door in the past 15 years.

› Boating activity riding the economy's overall growth
With the arrival of the busy summer boating season and an improving economy, boating sales are up in Florida retailers are seeing a good response from consumers.

› Gov. Scott's search for lieutenant governor remains on hold
University of Florida political scientist Richard Scher recently gave Rick Scott some unsolicited advice on the subject. "If I was advising Scott, I'd say what's the hurry?" Scher told the Naples Daily News. "Let's see how the political winds are blowing."