There is established at a public university or research center in this state the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research.
(1) The institute shall be a not-for-profit corporation registered, incorporated, and operated in accordance with chapter 617.
(2) The purpose of the institute is to assist in the commercialization of products developed by the research and development activities of an innovation business, as defined in s. 288.1089; a publicly supported college, university, or research institute; or any other publicly supported organization in this state. The institute shall fulfill its purpose in the best interests of the state. The institute: (a) Is a corporation primarily acting as an instrumentality of the state pursuant to s. 768.28(2), for the purposes of sovereign immunity; (b) Is not an agency within the meaning of s. 20.03(11); (c) Is subject to the open records and meetings requirements of s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution, chapter 119, and s. 286.011;
(d) Is not subject to the provisions of chapter 287;
(e) Shall be governed by the code of ethics for public officers and employees as set forth in part III of chapter 112;
(f) May create corporate subsidiaries;
(g) Shall support existing commercialization efforts at state universities; and
(h) May not supplant, replace, or direct existing technology transfer operations or other commercialization programs, including incubators and accelerators.
(3) The articles of incorporation of the institute must be approved in a written agreement with the department. The agreement and the articles of incorporation shall:
(a) Provide that the institute shall provide equal employment opportunities for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status;
(b) Provide that the institute is subject to the public records and meeting requirements of s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution;
(c) Provide that all officers, directors, and employees of the institute shall be governed by the code of ethics for public officers and employees as set forth in part III of chapter 112;
(d) Provide that members of the board of directors of the institute are responsible for the prudent use of all public and private funds and that they will ensure that the use of funds is in accordance with all applicable laws, bylaws, and contractual requirements; and
(e) Provide that the fiscal year of the institute is from July 1 to June 30.
(4) The affairs of the institute shall be managed by a board of directors who shall serve without compensation. Each director shall have only one vote. The chair of the board of directors shall be selected by a majority vote of the directors, a quorum being present. The board of directors shall consist of the following five members:
(a) The executive director of the department, or the director’s designee.
(b) The president of the university where the institute is located or the president’s designee unless multiple universities jointly sponsor the institute, in which case the presidents of the sponsoring universities shall agree upon a designee.
(c) Three directors appointed by the Governor to 3-year staggered terms, to which the directors may be reappointed.
(5) The board of directors shall provide a copy of the institute’s annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the president of the university at which the institute is located.
(6) The department, the president and the board of trustees of the university where the institute is located, the Auditor General, and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability may require and receive from the institute or its independent auditor any detail or supplemental data relative to the operation of the institute.
(7)(a) To be eligible for assistance, the company or organization attempting to commercialize its product must be accepted by the institute before receiving the institute’s assistance.
(b) The institute shall receive recommendations from any publicly supported organization that a company that is commercializing the research, technology, or patents from a qualifying publicly supported organization should be accepted into the institute.
(c) The institute shall thereafter review the business plans and technology information of each such recommended company. If accepted, the institute shall mentor the company, develop marketing information on the company, and use its resources to attract capital investment into the company, as well as bring other resources to the company which may foster its effective management, growth, capitalization, technology protection, or marketing or business success.
(8) The institute shall:
(a) Maintain a centralized location to showcase companies and their technologies and products;
(b) Develop an efficient process to inventory and publicize companies and products that have been accepted by the institute for commercialization;
(c) Routinely communicate with private investors and venture capital organizations regarding the investment opportunities in its showcased companies;
(d) Facilitate meetings between prospective investors and eligible organizations in the institute;
(e) Hire full-time staff who understand relevant technologies needed to market companies to the angel investors and venture capital investment community; and
(f) Develop cooperative relationships with publicly supported organizations all of which work together to provide resources or special knowledge that is likely to be helpful to institute companies.
(9) The institute may not develop or accrue any ownership, royalty, patent, or other such rights over or interest in companies or products in the institute except in connection with financing provided directly to client companies and shall maintain the confidentiality of proprietary information.
(10) The institute may not charge for services provided to state universities and affiliated organizations, community colleges, or state agencies; however, the institute may deliver and charge for services to private companies and affiliated organizations if providing a service does not interfere with the core mission of the institute. The institute may not use its capital in support of private companies or affiliated organizations whose products were not developed by research and development activities of a publicly supported college, university, or research institute, or any other organization.
(11) By December 1 of each year, the institute shall issue an annual report concerning its activities to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report shall include the following: (a) Information on any assistance provided by the institute to an innovation business, as defined in s. 288.1089; a publicly supported college, university, or research institute; or any other publicly supported organization in the state.
(b) A description of the benefits to this state resulting from the institute, including the number of businesses created, associated industries started, the number of jobs created, and the growth of related projects.
(c) Independently audited financial statements, including statements that show receipts and expenditures during the preceding fiscal year for personnel, administration, and operational costs of the institute.