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Stimulus: Florida University Receives $15 Million To Build The Country’s Largest Coral Reef Research Center

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida -- Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center recently received $15 million in federal stimulus money to build the country’s largest coral reef research center.

The 86,000-square-foot Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Science Research Facility will house local, national and international coral reef research. The facility will be located at NSU’s Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Dania Beach.

At a price-tag of roughly $30 million, the center is expected to create 22 new academic jobs and 300 construction jobs; employ 50 graduate students; and preserve 22 existing academic jobs. NSU is planning to contribute 50 percent of the center’s construction cost.

“I am thrilled that Nova Southeastern University has this opportunity to continue its leadership role in Florida’s science and research economy. This type of research infrastructure is urgently needed to support economic growth and environmental sustainability in our region. It builds on NSU’s multi-disciplinary research mission and will provide an anchor for the creation of hundreds of new jobs in addition to the direct academic, research and construction jobs it will provide.” said Ray Ferrero, Jr., chancellor of NSU.

The award was one of 12 announced Jan. 8 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a result of a nationwide competition made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding passed by Congress last year. The NSU grant was one of two to receive the largest amount awarded at $15 million. Other grantees included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Center, Columbia University, and other highly respected national research institutions.

The new center will be the only research facility in the nation dedicated to coral reef ecosystem research. The new facility will help sustain a $6 billion industry in South Florida.

Richard Dodge, Ph.D. dean of NSU’s Oceanographic Center and director of the National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI), said this represents recognition of the tremendous value of coral reefs to the nations and also the considerable threats and stressors that are now impinging upon them. The new Center of Excellence in Coral Reef ecosystem science aims to find management and conservation solutions to these pressing issues.

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