Triumph Gulf Coast approves $98.4 million in funding for FSU aerospace initiative

by | Nov 13, 2023

  • The Triumph Gulf Coast Board has approved $98.4 million in funding for Florida State University’s (FSU) InSPIRE project in Panama City, aimed at developing aerospace and manufacturing facilities.
  • The project seeks to support aerospace and procure defense industry contracts and grants, with Triumph funds allocated for equipment, personnel, and services.
  • FSU will contribute $65 million over 10 years to the InSPIRE project, aiming to secure over $230 million in contracts and grants.

The Triumph Gulf Coast Board has greenlit the funding for a $98.4 million project to be conducted by Florida State University (FSU) aimed at developing aerospace and manufacturing facilities in Panama City.

The project, known as the Institute for Strategic Partnerships, Innovation, Research, and Education (InSPIRE), and unanimously approved by the Triumph Board, is designed to support both secure and open aerospace and defense industry contracts and grants.

Per the Board, Triumph funds will be used for manufacturing and lab equipment, supplies, personnel, and contracted services. Through partnerships with industry entities and the federal government, InSPIRE intends to anchor novel Research and development (R&D) projects in the Panama City region, with a focus on advanced manufacturing and aerospace technology.

“The InSPIRE project holds so much potential and excitement for the area. Northwest Florida is booming and already has a great foundation in defense and manufacturing that we can build upon, and the InSPIRE project does just that,” said David Bear, chairman of Triumph Gulf Coast

In addition to the $98.4 million from Triumph Gulf Coast, FSU will contribute $65 million over the next 10 years and aims to secure more than $230 million in contract and grant work. Economic analysts forecast that the project will generate $10 in economic activity for every $1 spent.

“FSU is invested, not just in Tallahassee, but in the entire Florida Panhandle and beyond,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “We believe when we work together with industry to promote economic development and partner closely with the community, it expands opportunities for everyone in the region. This project takes advantage of FSU’s expertise and resources, and it is designed specifically to serve the Panhandle’s needs and have a generational impact on the region.” 

InSPIRE intends to work alongside Original Equipment Manufacturers and the Department of Defense (DOD). The constructed facilities are planned to be capable of handling proprietary, sensitive, and classified projects with high efficiency. FSU states that the initial focus areas of the project include industrial-scale prototyping, advanced manufacturing, and aerodynamic and hypersonic testing and evaluation activities.

Moreover, the project also plans to launch new workforce training and education programs tailored for advanced aerospace and manufacturing sectors.

Triumph Gulf Coast is a nonprofit corporation that oversees the majority of the funds recovered by the Florida attorney general for economic damages to the state from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Triumph is required to administer the funds to projects in the eight counties that were disproportionately affected by the oil spill — Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin, and Wakulla.  


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