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A catalyst is an agent that spurs a reaction. Much like air conditioning and the automobile were catalysts for Florida's post-war growth, the state's investment in life-science research institutes was and remains a catalyst for the growth of life sciences in Florida.

Florida was forever changed by Gov. Jeb Bush's visionary and bold decision in 2003 to invest one-time post-9-11 federal stimulus funds in recruiting the Scripps Research Institute to Palm Beach County and the subsequent establishment of the state's Innovation Investment Fund in 2006 that attracted five additional research institutes.

Bush recognized that Florida needed to diversify its economy from dependence on tourism, agriculture and construction if we wanted to remain a low-tax, high-growth state in the competitive 21st-century economy. He sought not only to create jobs, but also to draw the world's top researchers to our state to compete with states like California and Massachusetts for Nobel Prize-winning advances. He sought to build a lasting culture of innovation and research that would create and attract companies that would help us retain our science and engineering graduates; propel our universities to even greater levels of academic excellence; and grow our economy.

Click here to read Rocky Rodriquez's full article on the Orlando Sentinel's website.

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