President Avent granted prestigious international Fulbright award

Mar 21, 2024
Dr. Randy Avent standing in IST building
Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Polytechnic University, has received the prestigious Fulbright Schuman Innovation Award. He plans to conduct research at the University of Barcelona in Spain after he steps down as president at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.

LAKELAND, Fla. – Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Polytechnic University, has been selected as the 2024-2025 recipient of the Fulbright-Schuman Innovation Award.

The prestigious award is presented annually to one American scholar, with the purpose of supporting research at the intersection of policy and technology that can improve the understanding of issues important to the United States and the European Union.

Avent, who is set to leave his post as Florida Poly’s president at the end of the spring semester, will then travel to Spain to begin working on his Fulbright-funded research endeavor at the University of Barcelona. He will study the role of academic research in driving economic development, with a special emphasis on the contrast between the current European and American models.

“The University of Barcelona is a premier research university,” said Prof. Jordi Marti, head of administrative and financial management master at that university. “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Avent as part of the distinguished Fulbright Shuman program to foster research excellence between the EU and the U.S.”

Avent said he is eager to get started.

“I am honored to be chosen for this award and excited to begin advancing knowledge in an area that has such a profound effect on our global economy,” he said.

Avent said he has long been interested in exploring the marriage between higher education and industry, particularly as Florida Poly has championed that important relationship since its opening. The addition of Fortune 500 company IFF’s innovation center to campus is a direct result of that effort and ideology.

The Fulbright award will enable Avent to investigate this subject further and expand its application to other nations.

“Growing a robust technology economy depends on collaborative relationships between academic research and industry development,” he said. “This research opportunity has the potential to shift these relationships and the way markets approach innovation.”

Avent, who has led Florida Poly since its opening 10 years ago, announced in July 2023 that he would be stepping down from his position of president at Florida Poly. He plans to rejoin the University as a faculty member after a sabbatical, during which he will conduct his Fulbright research.

“This award is the direct result of our unconditional commitment to academic research excellence,” said Mustapha Achoubane, senior advisor for international relationships at Florida Poly. “Indeed, it aligns with our promise to cultivate a culture of innovation and our pledge to form an interconnected, distinguished global academic community.”

The international Fulbright Program, led by the U.S. Department of State, works with more than 160 nations around the globe to increase educational and cultural exchanges to study, learn, and pursue academic and professional projects. Since its creation in 1946, the program has created learning pathways for more than 400,000 scholars. 


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications
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