Spending for research at the University of Florida, a key indicator of how healthy an institution’s research enterprise is, reached a record high of $791.3 million in 2016, according to a new report to the National Science Foundation.
UF’s response to NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development, or HERD, Survey showed a 7 percent increase in total expenditures over 2015’s total of $739.5 million. Expenditures represent how much grant money the university actually spends in any given year. So, for example, a five-year, $10 million award might report expenditures of $2 million per year.
Life sciences research, including health and agricultural research, accounted for $561.9 million or about 71 percent of the total, up 4.1 percent over 2015. Engineering research accounted for $94.6 million or 12 percent, up 8.3 percent. Physical sciences like physics and chemistry accounted for $28.2 million or 4 percent, a 7.3 percent increase.
Computer and information sciences and math accounted for $19.9 million, a 102.3 percent increase; geosciences totaled $15.8 million, up 7.2 percent; social sciences totaled $14.7 million, down 10.4 percent; psychology totaled $6.4 million, up 26.8 percent; and non-science and engineering fields like business, communications and education totaled $49.3 million, up 24 percent over 2015.
“This report illustrates the broad diversity of research underway at the University of Florida,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “Not only is this research helping to cure diseases, feed the world and probe the mysteries of the universe – it also has a significant economic impact on Florida’s economy.”
NSF collects expenditure data from universities around the country and compiles it into a report that will be released later this year. Last year, based on fiscal year 2015 data, UF ranked 25th among all universities and 16th among public universities in research expenditures.
Among the largest projects under way in 2016 were the HCV Target project to coordinate research on Hepatitis C across more than 100 universities around the world; a U.S. Department of Agriculture project to help pine growers throughout the South adapt to changing growth patterns brought on by climate change; a Florida Museum-led National Science Foundation project to digitize millions of specimens in natural history museums around the country; and a U.S. Air Force project in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering to study the effects of lightning in the ionosphere and its impact on satellite communications.
Writer: Joseph Kays, 352-392-8229, [email protected]
Source: David Norton, [email protected]
Attorney General Pam Bondi today named Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Channing Taylor the 2016 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Attorney General Bondi recognized Lieutenant Taylor and nine other officers from across the state for their dedication to protecting Floridians.
“I am eternally grateful for these nominees and all our brave law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily to keep us safe,” said Attorney General Bondi. “We cannot thank these officers enough for the sacrifices they and their families make to protect our communities.”
On June 14, 2015, while on patrol, Lieutenant Taylor noticed a truck being operated without headlights, approached the vehicle and asked the driver for her license. Suddenly, a male passenger produced a revolver and fired at Lieutenant Taylor, striking him once in the shoulder. Lieutenant Taylor took cover and drew his firearm. When the suspects attempted to flee the scene, Lieutenant Taylor left his covered position to gain a clear line of sight of the vehicle and its occupants and fired his service firearm, striking the male passenger and causing the vehicle to stop.
Lieutenant Taylor not only ended a life-threatening situation to himself, but his quick and decisive actions ensured the safety of the individuals around him. Lieutenant Taylor’s actions demonstrated that the safety and welfare of the public and the prevention of further injury was his main concern.
Each of today’s honorees had been previously selected as the Officer of the Year by a Florida law enforcement agency or association. The Florida Highway Patrol nominated Lieutenant Taylor, a 22-year veteran of FHP. A selection committee appointed by Attorney General Bondi considered the distinguished group of nominees from state agencies and organizations.
The following law enforcement officers are the additional nominees:
- Officer Christopher Ayala, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services;
- Officer David Brady, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
- Deputy Emanuel Gonzalez, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office;
- Officer Jason Hutchinson, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
- Officer Niel Johnson, North Miami Police Department;
- Special Agent Travis Lawson, Florida Department of Law Enforcement;
- Investigator Jason Newlin, the State Attorney’s Office for the Second Judicial Circuit;
- Investigator Jayson Paul, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office; and
- Deputy Nicholas Worthy, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
For more information on the nominees’ accomplishments, click here.
After 2015’s record-busting 98 shark attacks, calmer waters prevailed in 2016. The University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File reported 81 unprovoked attacks worldwide, in line with the five-year average of about 82 incidents annually.
Four of the attacks were fatal, a drop from six total fatalities the previous year. While the U.S. had no fatal attacks in 2016, it topped the leaderboard for the most attacks globally, with 53.
Global attacks remain on a slow upward trend as the human population grows and aquatic sports become more popular, said George Burgess, curator of the file, housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus
“A shark attack is a human phenomenon,” said Burgess, who explained that 2015’s spike in attacks was influenced by warmer waters produced by El Niño. “Sharks are a natural part of the ecosystem. The ocean is a foreign environment to humans, and when we enter the sea, we’re entering a wilderness.”
South Africa had fewer incidents than normal, with only a single, non-fatal attack. Australia, another shark attack hotspot, had 15, including two fatalities. In the South Pacific, the French territory of New Caledonia has emerged as “an area of concern” with four attacks in 2016, including two fatalities, Burgess said.
In the U.S., Florida had the greatest number of attacks—32—accounting for about 60 percent of attacks in North America and about 40 percent of the global total. With 15 incidents, Volusia County accounted for nearly half of Florida’s total attacks. Hawaii had 10 attacks, followed by California with four, North Carolina with three, South Carolina with two and single attacks in Texas and Oregon.
The database, which tracks shark attacks globally, defines unprovoked shark attacks as those initiated by a shark in its natural habitat. Burgess said that many of these incidents might be more accurately called “human-shark interactions,” as not all attacks cause injury, and they can include a rough bump from a shark or a bite on a surfboard.
Fifty-eight percent of the attacks worldwide involved board sports. Surfing, boogie boarding and paddle boarding produce kicking and splashing—the kind of water disturbance that can draw a shark, Burgess said.
“Sharks are attracted to irregular activity, especially with the inevitable wipeout and the big splash that follows,” he said. “If you have a shark trailing, that’s often when it will strike.”
Although shark attacks have gradually increased, the number of fatal attacks has consistently fallen over the past century, said Lindsay French, database manager for the Florida Program for Shark Research and the attack file. She and Burgess attribute this decline to improved safety practices on beaches, better medical treatment and growing public awareness of how to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
While the chances of being injured or killed by a shark are “infinitesimal,” Burgess said, the ISAF offers recommendations for how to lower the risk of a shark attack or fend off an attacking shark.
He and French noted that while the human population is skyrocketing, many shark species are on the decline. Threatened by overfishing and loss of habitat, sharks’ complex life history makes it difficult for them to rebound quickly, Burgess said. As major predators, their numbers are inherently low compared with other smaller marine species, and their slow sexual maturation process, year-long pregnancies and long lifespans compound the obstacles to rebuilding populations.
“Once shark populations are down, recovery takes a long, long time,” he said. “They hold a special place in their ecosystem, and a loss at one node in the web of marine life is going to have an effect on the overall system.”
Sources: George Burgess, [email protected], 352-392-2360
Lindsay French, [email protected]
Writer: Natalie van Hoose, [email protected]
Governor Rick Scott announced today that Florida businesses created 237,300 new private-sector jobs in 2016, bringing the total number of jobs created since December 2010 to 1,262,100. For the 57th consecutive month, Florida’s annual job growth rate of 3.3 percent is exceeding the nation’s rate of 1.6 percent.
Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Florida businesses continued to grow throughout the past year, adding more than 237,000 new jobs in 2016. Over the last six years, we’ve worked each day to make it easier for job creators to invest and create new opportunities in our state, and we will continue to do everything we can to help Florida outcompete other locations as the best place for jobs. Today, as we proudly welcome a new president who will make job creation a top priority across our nation, we stand ready to fight for another great year of economic growth in Florida.”
Florida’s labor force has grown by 223,000 over the year, increasing by 66,000 over the month in December alone and exceeding the national labor force growth rate. This shows that more Floridians are confident in their ability to find a new opportunity in the job market. The state’s unemployment rate remained low at 4.9 percent in December 2016.
Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “With more than 250,000 job openings across the state and more than 1.25 million new private-sector jobs created in the last six years, it’s clear Florida is a great place to find a good job. Our low unemployment rate and strong record of job creation prove Florida is a great state to do business.”
Other positive economic indicators include:
- Private-sector industries with the highest job growth over the year in December were:
- Leisure and hospitality with 53,100 new jobs,
- Education and health services with 46,800 new jobs,
- Professional and business services with 46,200 new jobs, and
- Trade, transportation and utilities with 35,600 new jobs.
- Florida job postings showed 254,587 openings in December 2016, a 4.2 percent increase over the previous month.
- In December, Florida’s 24 regional workforce boards reported more than 30,084 Floridians, including 1,444 veterans, were placed in jobs.
To view the December 2016 employment data visit www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has released the 2016 Workers’ Compensation Annual Report to the Florida Legislature. The Office is required by law to annually evaluate competition in the workers’ compensation market and to investigate and use data in its review of associated rate filings.
For more information on this subject, please visit the Office’s Workers’ Compensation webpage.
About the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about the Office, please visit www.floir.com or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm and Facebook.
The Florida Lottery has reached a new record of more than $6.2 billion in sales during calendar year 2016; surpassing the previous year’s sales by more than $411 million. The Lottery’s 2016 contributions to the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF) are expected to reach $1.6 billion, a 7% increase over last year.
“Ending 2016 with this never before reached sales record is a tremendous accomplishment for the Florida Lottery,” said Secretary Tom Delacenserie. “Not only do our players and retailers benefit, but more importantly, these record-breaking sales help provide more opportunities for Florida students to ensure they receive the very best education possible.”
This year’s record sales of more than $6.2 billion resulted in the Florida Lottery transferring an average of $135 million toward education every month during 2016.
The Florida Lottery reinvests 98 percent of its revenue back into the state’s economy. With $1.6 billion generated for education, more than $3.9 billion paid to prize winners, and $342 million in retailer bonuses and commissions paid to Florida businesses, the contributions made by the Lottery this calendar year will go a long way in moving the state forward.