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July 17, 2008


(850) 488-5394

LONDON - Governor Charlie Crist applauds Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Atlantic University for establishing agreements with British research institutions that will enhance each university's efforts to address global climate change and conserve natural resources.

Representatives from the research institutions signed Memoranda of Understanding during a reception hosted by United Kingdom Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Kim Howells. The signing ceremony was part of the Team Florida Trade and Business Development Mission to the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Spain to encourage trade and investment in Florida and its international partners with a focus on aerospace, aviation and alternative energy.

"Florida's research universities are the heart of our technology innovation, and I applaud the international partnerships established here today," Governor Crist said. "Talented scientists are developing high quality research that results in real-world applications, and collaboration can advance the work being done in Florida and around the world."

About Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University and Bangor University College of Natural Sciences signed an agreement promoting cooperation to further research in marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems through the exchange of researchers, information lectures and conferences, co-operative research programs and technologies.

Representatives of Florida Gulf Coast University on hand for the agreement were Dr. Wilson Bradshaw, president; Dr. Donna Henry, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Aswani Volety, professor and chair of the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences.

About Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University and Heriot Watt University, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, signed an agreement to exchange researchers, technology and information relating to global climate change. Additionally, FAU and the New and Renewable Energy Centre signed a similar agreement. FAU representatives attending the signing ceremony included President Frank Brogan, Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology Executive Director Dr. Sue Skemp and Director Frederick Driscoll.

Previously, FAU and the University of Edinburgh exercised an agreement to further develop collaboration in the area of ocean energy research and technology. FAU's Center for Ocean Energy Technology is focused on the ocean as a sustainable baseload energy research in two main forms: thermal energy associated with heat absorbed by the ocean from the sun and mechanical energy associated with ocean currents.

FAU's Center for Ocean Energy Technology together with FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute are developing an integrated system approach towards environmental, ecological, resource and power system assessment and risk avoidance to ensure that all elements related to harnessing open-ocean energy research and development are being addressed and understood. Under the recent energy bill signed by Governor Crist, FAU's Center of Excellence received $8.75 million dollars.

In May, UK Trade & Investment hosted a mission to Florida visiting with researchers at FAU's SeaTech campus and Center for Ocean Energy Technology. In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, FAU will work closely with its UK partners to understand and develop guidance for global policy as it relates to ocean energy extraction.

About Florida-United Kingdom Relations

Florida and the UK enjoy strong economic ties, with two-way merchandise trade valued at $2.8 billion, making the UK Florida's thirteenth largest trading partner. Further, the UK is ranked second in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Florida, totaling $4 billion in 2005. At present, one-third of all British firms in the United States operate in Florida, and about one in five Floridians working for a foreign-affiliated company are employed by a British firm. In total, British-affiliated companies employ more Floridians than companies from any other foreign country, with 335 subsidiaries employing more than 41,000.

In terms of tourism, the United Kingdom is Florida's top overseas tourism market, with 1.34 million United Kingdom arrivals for 2006. On average, travelers from the UK spend nearly two weeks in Florida and $3,196, with 72.5 percent traveling to Orlando, 15.3 percent to Miami and 12.5 percent to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.

About the Team Florida Trade and Business Development Mission

During the remainder of the United Kingdom portion of the Team Florida Trade and Business Development Mission, the Governor will meet with His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales; Minister of State for the Environment Phil Woolas; and participate Visit Florida marketing campaign kick-off. In France, he will meet with senior government officials, visit a nuclear facility to promote partnerships between Florida and France in the area of alternative energy, and visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

Following France, Governor Crist will travel to Russia to meet with government and business leaders to promote Florida-Russia economic relations. Lastly, Governor Crist will visit Spain, meeting with government officials and private sector representatives to discuss Florida-Spain trade and investment, and visit the world's largest photovoltaic solar facility.

Coordinated by Enterprise Florida Inc., the Team Florida delegation includes business and governmental leaders, as well as representatives from economic development organizations and state research institutions. This will be the Governor's third business development mission since taking office in 2007. Most recently, last November the Governor led the largest single-state delegation to Brazil in United States history, which generated more than $300 million in actual and anticipated sales.