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FSU's latest collaborative research project aims to help the neurodiverse populations in rural North Florida

A team presentation during the 6th Collaborative Collision competition at the Turnbull Center
Tom Flanigan
A team presentation during the 6th Collaborative Collision competition at the Turnbull Center

People with cognitive challenges who live in North Florida's rural counties may soon find more and better services available. That effort is the result of the latest "Collaborative Collision" competition at Florida State University.
Six teams of faculty and staff from various departments proposed rural area service projects at Tuesday night's Turnbull Center "Collaborative Collision." Mike Mitchell, assistant director of the FSU Office of Research Development, was the MC as the various groups gave their project pitches from the stage.

"Teams are competing this evening for an opportunity to receive up to $100,000 from the Office of Research at FSU to launch the project they've developed. If they win, they will have a year to complete the first step in a much larger project."

Mitchell added this year's focus is improving the lives of those who live in underserved, rural areas of the Big Bend.

"Things like access to the Internet, access to healthcare information, availability of resources for people with disabilities. They're all problems that we face in cities, but they occur in unique ways in rural areas because things are spread out and there are so few people."

Projects ranged from improving neo-natal healthcare, to re-imagining the school's former dairy property and Alumni Village as a multi-cultural gathering space. The judges finally presented the $100,000 Accelerator Award to the Access to Resources for People With Disabilities team that will help neurodiverse people in twenty-three North Florida counties obtain services for such challenges as autism, Downs Syndrome and intellectural disabilities. The Rural Resource Access Hubs team received a runner-up award of $50,000.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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