Group from across Florida solidifying efforts to champion bioscience industries
By Zachary S. Fagenson
Heads of economic development agencies and universities from across Florida are to meet for a third time Feb. 2 at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton to decide the structure and mission of a group that may champion the needs of the state's emerging bioscience industry.
Locally, top Florida International University officials, including Vice President for Engagement Divina Grossman and President Mark B. Rosenberg, along with Beacon Council President and CEO Frank Nero and Director of Business Expansion, Retention, Recruitment and Urban Initiatives Gisela Mohring, have been focused on creating the group's mission statement.
"FIU is doing all the coordination within all of the organizations and we're helping them along," Ms. Mohring said . "We present it to the group in February for discussion, and hopefully we'll solidify it from there."
The group includes Enterprise Florida President John Adams, Florida Gulf Coast University Provost Ronald Toll and Indian River State College President Ed Massey.
Others include the external strategy work group, which will focus on methods for achieving the group's missions, headed by Florida High Tech Corridor President Randy Berridge and Mr. Toll, and another to promote entrepreneurship to students across the state.
The group first met at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables on Aug. 17 to see how it could leverage education and bioscience research across the state to bolster the life science industry.
At its most recent meeting in October at Broward College, State Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Margate Democrat and chair of Policy and Steering Committee on Commerce and Industry, discussed what the state needs to do to support the burgeoning industry, which business and civic leaders have pegged as the next great generator of wealth for the region.
While the group is looking to help the education system get on the same track as the industry to provide the workforce, the idea of a "long-term play" seems to indicate the group will push for even more public investment in the life sciences.
Senator Ring "felt there was a lack of funding in the state for research commercialization and on the state level a lack of strong leadership in this area," said Mr. Nero said in a previous interview. He "felt that this was probably more of long-term play than a short-term play."
Sen. Ring "made a couple of recommendations. One is to expand the composition of the group to include individuals with a track record in venture capital with a record of investing in life sciences," Mr. Nero added.
Once the group reconvenes and sets its format and goals, it will present itself to lawmakers in Tallahassee.
"Any successful economic endeavor must have leadership from state," Mr. Nero said. "The State of Florida must become chief salesperson and advocate [for] the bioscience" industry.
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