When the university established its five-year plan in 2018, we identified research and innovation as one of our five strategic pillars to support and advance excellence as a global aerospace educator and industry partner. Here is how we defined our goal:
Be known internationally for groundbreaking aerospace/aviation research and innovation in select, signature areas, and for discovery-driven undergraduate programs.
Eureka! moments happen, but not in a vacuum. They turn into products, services and solutions when a solid support system is in place. We have made impressive progress in expanding that support. It has demanded investment and targeted recruitment, specialized equipment and more space for entrepreneurs, collaborations with government, industry and academia, and the creation of centers of excellence that encourage multidisciplinary inspiration and applications. We support innovators who ask, “What if?” and then find the answers that propel aviation and aerospace into the future.
The contributions of these innovators also earn the support of industry and friends of the university. Embry-Riddle has already doubled external research funding and established signature research centers, including the Center for Aerospace Resilience (CAR) and the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety (CAAS) led by Robert Sumwalt (’14,’18), former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. Most recently, we received the largest gift in Embry-Riddle’s history of $25 Million from Cici and Hyatt Brown, with the potential for matching funds from the State of Florida. This funding will be used to create the Cici and Hyatt Brown Center for Aerospace Technology, a new business makerspace focused on high-paying jobs for Floridians.
Our commitment to exploration pays off in practical and measurable ways, as demonstrated by the growth of our Research Park, which generated $137 Million of total economic impact in Florida in 2021. That is a 50-percent increase over 2019, according to an independent assessment by The Washington Economics Group. Our Research Park, which has served 24 advanced technology companies since 2017, directly and indirectly supports more than 700 jobs in Volusia County, Florida.
At the heart of all these efforts is our commitment to student success. Research Park enterprise supports meaningful internships for our students, who then have a leg up in securing high-paying jobs. As we expand the Research Park with an advanced manufacturing center and increase our talent pool with new Presidential Fellows, students will play an integral part in our progress.
As alumni and friends, you can help our students play that part, too, by supporting their access to innovative research programs through our One University Scholarship Fund at givingto.erau.edu/one. With your support, these students will explore and make new discoveries at Embry-Riddle for many exciting years to come.