Sunday, March 2, 2008

UCF Researchers Win Three Prestigious Optics Awards

ORLANDO, Feb. 28, 2008 -- Researchers at the University of Central Florida have received three of the highest awards bestowed by the worlds premier scientific society in optics and photonics. M.J. Soileau, vice president of UCF's Office of Research and Commercialization, has been named the recipient of the SPIE gold medal, the highest honor awarded by the international society.Research faculty member Leon Glebov, of the College of Optics and Photonics and Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL), won SPIE's Dennis Gabor Award for outstanding accomplishments in technologies relating to the bending of lightwaves. And Shin-Tson Wu, a provost-distinguished professor of Optics, will receive the G. G. Stokes Award for exceptional contributions to the field of optical polarization. "These awards are a testament to the regard in which UCF's faculty members and their research are held by their peers at SPIE and other scientific societies," said UCF President John Hitt. "Our university community appreciates the dedication of our outstanding optics faculty to educating our students and developing innovations that improve our daily lives and power the Central Florida economy."Soileau, who served as founding director of CREOL, is credited with laying the groundwork for the universitys optics program. That program includes the nation's first full-fledged college devoted to optics and two additional research centers -- the Florida Photonics Center of Excellence and the Townes Laser Institute. Since it began in 1986, UCF's optics program has been recognized as an example of the economic impact that research and technology development can generate in Florida. The college has received about $150 million in research funding, providing industry with an unparalleled resource and attracting world-class faculty to the university. Soileau has written more than 150 articles for scientific journals and has presented at more than 180 professional conferences. He received the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal from the Optical Society of America in 2007 and a Directors' Award from SPIE in 1999. Earlier this year, he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He has made significant scientific contributions to the areas of laser-induced damage and sensor protecting devices.Glebov has pioneered methods of making and manipulating some of the world's highest-quality glass to create techniques of etching holograms or pathways into glass that can direct light to perform specific functions. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics, with a major in Optics, from State Optical Institute in Leningrad, Russia, where he worked until 1995. In 2005, he was named a fellow of the Optical Society of America. Wu is a fellow of many professional organizations, including SPIE, and is a recipient of the Outstanding Engineer Award from IEEE, a professional association devoted to the advancement of technology. He has co-authored four books, more than 350 papers and 60 issued and pending patents. His liquid crystal lens technology has been licensed for use in commercial and military applications and, most recently, medical applications. The three UCF researchers will be presented with their awards at the SPIE Defense and Security conference banquet March 19 in Orlando. Corporate tables seating 10 are available through March 4 for $850 by contacting Jack Sullivan of the Florida Research Consortium at UCF --Contact: Barb Abney, UCF Office of Research and Commercialization, 407-823-5139, UCF Stands for Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 6th largest in the nation with more than 48,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more UCF news, visit

Saturday, March 1, 2008

FHTCC Launches a “Virtual Visit” for High Tech Business Recruitment

Creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness have lead the Florida High Tech Corridor to become one of the nation’s top emerging high tech hubs. Those same attributes are now being put to work to provide a unique way for key business relocation and expansion targets to “visit” the Corridor in the heart of Florida without having to get on a plane.

The Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) recently launched, an interactive, online tour that is designed to showcase the region’s tech capabilities to a national audience, including high tech executives, entrepreneurs, corporate real estate executives, and site selection consultants.

Through informative videos and engaging graphics, allows visitors to explore the Corridor’s key technology sectors and institutes of higher education, discover the region’s world-famous leisure activities and unsurpassed quality of life, examine the business climate, and explore the diverse counties that make up the region. The Visit is hosted by a “virtual” tour guide, Orlando’s WESH-TV Anchorwoman Wendy Chioji, who will greet visitors and offer help throughout their visit to the Corridor.

“Visitors to the tour will see exactly why the 23-county Florida High Tech Corridor is considered one of the best places for high tech businesses,” said Randy Berridge, president of FHTCC. “We strongly feel that if decision makers see everything the Florida High Tech Corridor has to offer tech industry, we become strong candidates for their relocation or expansion projects.”

Examples of the Florida High Tech Corridor’s growing tech prominence include the recent Florida expansions of SRI International, a Silicon Valley-based research and commercialization firm with 60 years of experience in technology development, and The Burnham Institute for Medical Research, a highly regarded nonprofit medical research institution. Both companies chose to locate their East Coast expansions in the Corridor after reaching research partnerships with Corridor universities.

The region and state has also fared well in numerous national rankings and surveys. Business 2.0 ranked Orlando No. 1 and Tampa No. 7 in offering America’s best jobs in the hottest markets; AeA ranked Florida No. 1 in high tech job growth and No. 2 in the total number of high tech jobs added; The Metropolitan New Economy Index ranked Orlando and Tampa Nos. 1 and 7, respectively, in the number of rapidly growing “gazelle” companies driving the new economy; and Sperling’s “Cities Ranked and Rated” listed Gainesville as the nation’s No. 1 place to live for opportunities for small business.

Playing a large role in the region’s recent high tech successes are the Florida High Tech Corridor’s three world-renowned research universities – University of Central Florida, University of South Florida and University of Florida. Combined, they receive nearly $1 billion each year in external research funding and have a total student body or more than 140,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.


The Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) is an economic development initiative of the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Florida (UF) whose mission is to attract, retain and grow high tech industry and to help develop the workforce to support those industries in the 23-county Corridor.

A partnership involving more than 20 local and regional economic development organizations (EDOs) and 14 community colleges, the Council is co-chaired by the presidents of UCF, USF and UF. The Council includes the presidents of two of the community colleges who serve on a rotating basis, the president of Florida Institute of Technology and representatives of high tech industry.

The unique partnership has resulted in a strategic approach to high tech economic development that involves matching funds research, workforce development and a marketing program leveraging governmental, EDO and corporate budgets on a regional rather than local basis.

For more information, visit