Engineering the future: FIU Expansion provides educational opportunities, new jobs, economic impact

fiu-proposed-expansion-engineering-center-close-up-view

fiu-proposed-expansion-engineering-center-close-up-view

As FIU pushes to expand both geographically and in student enrollment, the university is working with industry leaders to grow its College of Engineering and Computing to meet the needs of the 21st century economy. The expansion would include a $150 million, 225,000-square-foot complex, rendering pictured above, located on an expanded Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

“The College of Engineering and Computing is actively engaged in cutting-edge research and development for high-impact solutions,” said Ranu Jung, interim dean of the college. “We are educating the engineers of tomorrow, but with all that we are, we are operating at scale. For us to meet our national need and FIU’s mission of student access and success, research excellence, and local to global community service, we must expand.”

The new, centrally located complex would

  • Encourage interdisciplinary research activity in key growth areas—biomedical engineering, computer engineering related to cyber security, electrical engineering work on sensors and nanotechnology drug delivery—with academic units based at MMC such as the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, and the Sea Level Solutions Center;
  • Attract greater external research funding commensurate with expanded facility capacity, additional faculty hiring and larger, collaborative research projects;
  • House the Office of Research and Development’s newly established startup incubator designed to commercialize faculty research and work with local innovators;
  • Feature state-of-the-art laboratories for 73 professors, collaborative team spaces and interactive teaching classrooms;
  • Contribute to national and state mandates to increase the number of engineering graduates.
fiu-proposed-expansion-engineering-center-aerial-view

An aerial view of the proposed expansion of the Engineering Center to the southeast corner of MMC

As South Florida’s public research university, FIU is dedicated to driving the economic development of the region and the state. FIU is ranked first in the nation in providing engineering degrees to Hispanic and fifth in the nation for African Americans. The university is among the top 2 percent of U.S. research institutions and holds the Carnegie Classification ranking of “R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity.”

Through innovative engineering education and research, we are meeting the workforce and technology-creation needs of both the public and private sectors while collaborating with a host of partners.

As national and state leaders call upon educational institutions to increase the number of engineers in the coming decades—as many as 10,000 per year— FIU can and will play a significant role in achieving that goal. And with an enhanced research environment, the university will serve as a resource for startup and existing companies seeking support for new innovations. The major gains for our region and the state will be realized in a growing number of high-quality jobs and an ecosystem that fosters continued growth in a variety of industries.

“Investment in our College of Engineering and Computing will feed South Florida’s aspirations to establish a major innovation hub,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg.

The college today

The College of Engineering & Computing consists of more than 5,800 students pursuing both undergraduate and graduate degrees; and it graduated more than 1,100 engineers in the 2014-15 academic year.

The 181,459-square-foot, state-of-the-art Engineering Center houses unique research laboratories and facilities for its 105 faculty; and the college earned $17.73 million in external research grants in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Projected return on investment

To the college:

  • $49 million in annual external research grants
  • 27 university patent applications annually
  • 1 viable startup every other year
  • 7,500 students
  • 1,500 new graduates annually
  • 214 faculty
  • 331,459 square feet of teaching and research space

To the community:

  • 350 additional engineers entering workforce annually
  • $78 million infusion of new dollars into local economy (by 2025), based on expanded research funding
  • 550 newjobs in South Florida, based on expanded research funding
  • Creation of a resource center that will attract and support new tech-based ventures in South Florida

Source: FIU Magazine

 
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