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UCF's Role

The University of Central Florida is an incubator of technology and research for the entire region. It is the largest university in Florida and one of the largest in the nation. UCF’s graduate video game program is ranked among the top five in the world. It’s also an academic and research leader in fields including optics, modeling and simulation, digital media, hospitality management, engineering and business administration. It supplies aerospace and defense companies with more graduates than any other university in the U.S.

UCF Facts

  • 66,059 — Students
  • 220 — Degrees offered
  • 32 — U.S. patents granted in 2018
  • 75th — Rank among American universities in number of U.S. patents


Dopamine Detector

The presence of dopamine in the body can signal illness, but detection can require hours and specialized lab equipment. University of Central Florida researchers using nanotechnology have developed the first rapid dopamine detector.

Requiring only a few drops of blood and the researchers’ small specialized chip, the detector can provide results in minutes.

“A neurotransmitter like dopamine is an important chemical to monitor for our overall wellbeing, so we can help screen out neural disorders like Parkinson’s disease, various brain cancers, and monitor mental health,” says Debashis Chanda, an associate professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and the study’s principal investigator. “We need to monitor dopamine so that we can adjust our medical doses to help address those problems.”

Metro Orlando Snapshot

  • 2.49 million — Population
  • 1.36 million — Labor force
  • 46.6 — Median age
  • 90% — Have high school diploma
  • 31% — Have bachelor’s degree or higher
  • $52,261 — Median household income
  • $265,000 — Median home sales price

Colleges and Universities

  • University of Central Florida
  • Full Sail University
  • Rollins College
  • Valencia College
  • Seminole State College
  • LakeSumter State College

Incubators and Accelerators

  • Bridg
  • GuideWell Innovation
  • Groundswell
  • Orlando GameSpace
  • Orlando Tech
  • Team Orlando (military simulation)
  • UCF Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Full Sail University

The private, for-profit university is known for its programs focusing on audio, film and media production; video game design; animation; and studies related to the media and entertainment industries. In 2018, 28 of its graduates were credited on Oscar-winning films in 14 categories. The Princeton Review ranks it as one of the best schools for studying game design.


Real Fun

If you have played or seen the video game Assassin's Creed or Madden NFL, you’ve been in contact with the work of Orlando-based company GameSim.

GameSim’s 3D technology helps make games and simulated environments look more realistic. It develops simulated environments for some of the world’s largest game companies, as well as both private industry and the military. Its client list includes the Department of Defense, Electronic Arts, Zynga and the Florida Department of Transportation.

GameSim’s cutting edge is its geospatial terrain tool, Conform. It’s the fastest product on the market for importing geospatial data to generate high-fidelity visualizations of artificial environments.

On the entertainment side, the firm does all aspects of game development, from frontend features and effects to backend optimization. For the military, GameSim creates everything from virtual structures to nationscale geospatial terrain maps.

GameSim was founded in 2008 by University of Central Florida graduate Andrew Tosh, who had been a developer for Electronic Arts and the military. In 2017, GameSim was acquired by Keywords Studios, a company based in Ireland that has more than 5,000 employees worldwide.

“We had gotten about as big as we could get, and we wanted to see what it was like to have more access to the world,” says studio manager Max Acree, another UCF alumnus.

GameSim, which will remain in Central Florida, has just under 40 employees, and UCF and Full Sail University provide a study stream of talent.

Digital Media and Entertainment Art

  • 2 — Top20 graduate programs for video game design (Princeton Review/ PC Gamer 2018)
  • 6th — Rank among Fortune’s 10 Most Successful States for Video Game Development
  • 4 — Major theme park destination partners offering opportunities in entertainment innovation
  • 750 — Number of employees who work in Maitland for Electronic Arts Tiburon, one of the world's largest video game companies

Orlando Standouts

  • Ag 3 is a biological technology company that produces and sells tissue culture liners.
  • Argonide Advanced Filtration Systems specializes in nanofiltration water purification systems.
  • AquaFiber Technologies develops nutrient remediation technologies to restore surface water health.
  • Capacitech Energy, founded at the University of Central Florida, developed a highpower, highdensity conductor that increases battery life and capacity.
  • Florida Food Products, a food processing company based in Eustis, develops fruit and vegetable concentrates, powders and solutions.
  • Imec USA is nanoelectronics design center for photonics and highspeed electronics. It put its first U.S.based research and development center in Kissimmee.
  • LightPath Technologies develops and manufactures optics, photonics and infrared solutions for the industrial, commercial, defense, telecommunications and medical industries and is headquartered in Orlando.
  • Lockheed Martin employs 8,000 in Orlando developing technologies related to electrooptics, sensing, mission systems, training and technology for the aerospace and defense industries.
  • Luminar Technologies develops lidar sensors that act as the eyes of autonomous vehicles.
  • SynapCyte is a biotherapeutic company that has developed regenerative treatment for neurological diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Universal Creative is the innovative force behind the rides and shows at Universal Parks & Resorts.

Employment by Industry

  • 20.5% — Leisure/Hospitality
  • 18.6% — Professional/ Business Services
  • 12% — Education/ Health Services
  • 11.3% — Retail Trade
  • 9.9% — Government
  • 6.4% — Construction
  • 5.7% — Financial Activities
  • 3.6% — Manufacturing
  • 3.4% — Wholesale Trade
  • 3.4% — Other Services
  • 3.3% — Transportation/ Warehousing/Utilities Information
  • 1.9% — Mining/Logging