Research Facilities and Special Programs
Research and Research Facilities
Since its designation as a university in 1947, Florida State University has built a reputation as a strong center for research and creativity in the sciences, the humanities, and in the arts. During the fiscal year 2021, Florida State University's faculty generated over $275 million in external funding to supplement state funds used for research and creative activities. These funds, derived through contracts and grants from various private foundations, industries, and government agencies, are used to provide stipends for graduate students, to improve research facilities, and to support the research itself.
Many members of Florida State University's faculty are renowned scholars in their fields. In the natural sciences, Florida State University is perhaps best known for its basic research programs in physics, chemistry and biochemistry, biology, psychology, meteorology, and oceanography. Its programs in materials science, high-field magnet research, superconductivity, geology, mathematics, computer science, and statistics also have strong research components, both basic and applied. Since 1982, Florida State has operated a College of Engineering as a joint program with Florida A&M University, an enterprise combining strengths in mechanical, electrical and computer, civil, environmental, chemical and biomedical, and industrial and manufacturing engineering. The Florida State University College of Medicine, founded by statute in 2000, has major research components in the biomedical and clinical sciences, family medicine and rural health, geriatrics, and medical humanities and social sciences. Finally, Florida State has traditional and ongoing strengths in the performing and creative arts and humanities.
The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) is the only user-facility of its kind in the United States, and the highest-powered magnet laboratory in the world. Headquartered at Florida State since 1994, the lab hosts more than a thousand visiting scientists each year from dozens of countries who come to use our unique magnets to explore promising new materials, solve global energy problems, and advance our understanding of the biochemistry that underlies living things. Coupled with brilliant in-house researchers in physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, geochemistry, materials science, and medicine, their findings result in more than 400 scientific publications per year in peer reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters.
The MagLab is home to more than a dozen world-record magnet systems that were designed and built in-house by experts in magnet and science technology, including the world's strongest continuous field magnet at 45 tesla, the most powerful MRI at 900 Mhz, a 21 tesla ion coclotron resonance mass spectrometer, 36 tesla NMR magnet, and a 32 tesla all-superconducting magnet These tools open new frontiers of science and have enormous potential for commercial and industrial applications. The MagLab has many exciting research opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers from across scientific disciplines who are interested in hands-on research experiences in an environment filled with world-class resources and instruments. The Applied Superconductivity Center (ASC) is associated with the NHMFL. Researchers at the ASC study high temperate superconducting materials that can be used in magnet construction, motors, and energy storage or transmission devices. Other materials efforts of note take place in the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Physics, and Scientific Computing, as well as in units of the College of Engineering.
Florida State University has made major investments in faculty and infrastructure in the area of materials science and engineering. The High Performance Materials Institute (HPMI), located in the Materials Research Building, specializes in the synthesis and characterization of composite materials containing carbon nanotubes. These light weight but strong materials have broad applications in transportation, armor, and energy.
The Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) performs basic and applied research to improve power systems technology focusing on electric power systems modeling and simulation, power electronics and machines, control systems, thermal management, high temperature superconductor characterization, and electrical insulation research. Development of cutting-edge technologies and a technology-savvy workforce in a broad range of aerospace and propulsion disciplines is the focus of the Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion (FCAAP). FCAAP is a Center of Excellence led by Florida State University with the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as partners. FCAAP is housed in the newly constructed Aero-Propulsion, Mechatronics and Energy (AME) Building. The AME building contains a variety of unique instruments and facilities including wind tunnels and specialized device fabrication space.
The Program in Nuclear Research is highly ranked nationally, with emphasis on nuclear structure physics, nuclear astrophysics, radioactive beam studies, studies of nuclear reaction mechanisms using polarized Li beams, accelerator-based atomic physics, electron scattering, hadronic nuclear physics, and relativistic heavy ion reactions. A large part of the program in experimental nuclear physics uses Florida State University's Superconducting Linear Accelerator Facility, which ran its first experiment in 1987. The facility consists of a Super-FN tandem Van de Graaff electrostatic accelerator that injects into a heavy-ion superconducting linear accelerator. The facility utilizes state of the art instrumentation, provides forefront nuclear research capability, and is unique in the southeast.
Florida State University's Coastal and Marine Laboratory (FSUCML) is located forty-five miles south of Tallahassee on the Gulf of Mexico. This research facility gives scientists and students one of the least impacted coastal environments of the southeastern U.S. Facilities include a fleet of research vessels, a fully-equipped dive locker, saltwater-equipped analytical laboratories, multiple seawater systems, a research hatchery, classrooms, and guest housing. CML is home port for the 65' aluminum research vessel, R/V Apalachee. FSU's scientific diving program, operated from the CML, provides support for and oversight of all scientific and educational compressed-gas diving for FSU and other AAUS institutions.
The Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) trains oceanographers, meteorologists, and scientists in related disciplines. Research at COAPS focuses on ocean and atmospheric dynamics and their applications to interdisciplinary studies. In particular, COAPS scientists specialize in the modeling of ocean and atmospheric dynamics, climate prediction on scales of months to decades, air-sea interaction and modeling, and predictions of socio-economic consequences of ocean-atmospheric variations. COAPS hosts the University's component of the Florida Climate Institute, a joint venture with the University of Florida.
Structural Biology, a collaboration of faculty from the Departments of Biological Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mathematics, Medical Science, and Physics, is the research emphasis of the Institute of Molecular Biophysics. Research conducted by Structural Biology faculty focuses on the three-dimensional structure of biologically important macromolecules and the structural correlates of their functional properties. A variety of state-of-the-art research tools are available in the Institute and allied units including X-ray crystallography, cryoelectron microscopy, mass spectrometry, computer-based molecular modeling, electron paramagnetic resonance, fluorescence, laser and NMR spectroscopies.
A number of Florida State University programs have won statewide, national, or international distinction for their research. These include the following:
The Institute for Justice Research and Development (IJRD) advances science, policy, and practice to improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities impacted by criminal justice system involvement. IJRD conducts rigorous, real-world intervention research; rapidly disseminates findings to enact data-driven reforms; trains professionals at the intersection of social work and criminal justice; and harnesses technology to maximize impact.
The Learning Systems Institute (LSI) is a diverse, multidisciplinary program designed to bridge the gap between research and practice in education and training. Researchers at LSI combine strengths in educational leadership, instructional design, and human performance to design, build, and implement effective learning strategies for a wide range of clients around the world. Founded in the 1960s to help the South Korean government in its efforts to overhaul the country's school system, LSI has grown to become an international resource for learning. In the 1990s, the institute's pioneering work in distance learning led to it becoming the home for the University's online educational outreach.
The Florida Center for Reading Research was established by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 as the central source of research and training for Florida's initiatives in improving the reading and literacy levels of K–12 students throughout the state. The center focuses FSU's strengths in psychology and education on science-based approaches to reading instruction and assessment that are disseminated through the Florida Department of Education.
Florida State University's Autism Institute, housed in the College of Medicine, coordinates and promotes research, education, and service related to the autism spectrum disorders. The institute promotes Interdisciplinary research that advances scientific knowledge and bridges the gap between this knowledge and clinical/educational practice.
The Florida Institute for Child Welfare (FICW) at the College of Social Work was established by the Florida Legislature in 2014. In collaboration with a statewide affiliate network, FICW maintains a program of research and evaluation to support improvements within the child welfare system. In 2020, the legislature tasked the Institute with several new mandates, including the design and implementation of an interactive, interdisciplinary social work curriculum; a development of a career-long professional development curriculum; and specialized, capacity-building technical assistance for organizations.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art located in Sarasota, Florida, is the designated State Museum of Florida. In 2000, the Legislature shifted administration of the museum to Florida State University in recognition, in part, of the growing trend to maximize the educational value and potential of museums and, in part, to take advantage of the University's commitment to the arts. That potential is especially evident through this association with the Sarasota community due to mutual strengths in the areas of the fine and performing arts and corollary interests, such as the American circus. The Ringling Museum, the home of an internationally renowned art collection, occupies sixty acres of beautiful bay front property including the museum of art, the historic Asolo Theatre (restored in 2006), Ca'd'Zan, the Ringling Mansion, and the Circus Museum, now featuring the Tibbals Learning Center, dedicated to preserving the world's largest and most complete collection of circus art and history. Together with the Florida State University Performing Arts Center, which lies adjacent to the art museum, it holds center stage for Florida State University's Ringling Center for the Cultural Arts, which was created by the Florida Legislature in the year 2000.
Florida State University's Institute of Science and Public Affairs is a multifaceted institute of public service and applied research that helps governmental and private agencies solve problems ranging from hazardous waste disposal to conflict resolution. Research centers within the institute respond to public and private sector needs. Specialists in the fields of biology, chemistry, geography, education, planning, public administration, physics, economics, law, and other areas carry out the University's public service responsibility through programs in education, training, and applied research. The overriding objective is to successfully apply resources, human and technical, to policy problems within the state of Florida. The Institute provides University students the opportunity to work on specific projects in institute centers under the supervision of experienced faculty and staff. These projects provide training for students in problem-solving environments. Government agencies and private sector organizations benefit from this dynamic source of trained and skilled personnel.
Since 1951, students and faculty of Florida State University have benefited from its membership in Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). ORAU is a consortium of more than one hundred PhD granting universities and a management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. ORAU works with its member institutions to help their students and faculty gain access to federal research facilities throughout the country; to keep its members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship, and research appointments; and to organize research alliances among its members, including programs designed to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science- and engineering-related disciplines.
In addition to membership in ORAU, Florida State University is one of the core university partners with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Partnership with ORNL facilitates research collaborations and affords access for faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to unique capabilities in neuron scattering, high performance computing, and materials science. Furthermore, graduate students have the potential to participate in ORNL's Graduate Opportunities (GO!) Program involving dual mentorship between FSU faculty and national lab staff members.
Many offices support researchers, including, within OVPR, the Office of Research Development (ORD), which helps faculty to meet collaborators and aids in proposal development, the Office of Commercialization, which handles technology transfer, Sponsored Research Administration (SRA), which facilitates and monitors federal and state grants, the Office for Human Subjects Protection (HSP), which aids those who research involves human participants, and Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR), which aids those who work with animals. The Office for Clinical Research Advancement (OCRA) is a central coordinating and support office for interdisciplinary biomedical and behavioral researchers across campus that engages, connects, and supports FSU research faculty, clinicians, and FSU communities in advancing medical discoveries to improve health outcomes.
Outside of the OVPR, the College of Medicine's Translational Science Laboratory houses a broad array of biomedical instruments including mass spectrometers, a high through-put DNA sequencer and biophysical macromolecular characterization devices. The FSU Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility is also housed in Medicine. This facility contains a state-of-the-art Siemens Prisma MRI system being used primarily for brain imaging research.
Computing and information technology are widely used at Florida State University for both research and instruction. The University's Information Technology Services (ITS) manages a high speed network that connects computers throughout the University to each other and to the world. ITS also provides wireless connectivity to the network from most locations on the FSU campus. In addition to the global Internet, Florida State University participates in the Florida LambdaRail and the National LambdaRail project, a special high capacity state and national network for academic and research purposes. The University maintains a shared high performance computing system, the Research Computing Center. The current setup has 748 compute nodes and 14,092 CPU cores. The theoretical peak performance of the complete system is 393 TeraFlops. The RCC has recently added 1.5 PetaByte low-cost archival storage capabilities to the facility.