Changing Mindset Critical for Arizona Bioscience Success, Study Advises
Arizona must begin viewing medical and educational institutions as a major economic driver of the state economy in order to become a leader in the biosciences industry, according to a new report from the Arizona Board of Regents.
Instead of Arizona pouring millions of dollars into university research institutions as the only way to boost its bioscience sector, the report recommends the state first think differently about the "Meds and Eds" institutions and their impact on the economy. Arizona has held a narrow interpretation of these institutions in the past, and – rather than seeing them as separate entities – the state needs to view its institutions as collective assets that will help it advance, the author argues.
The report, Meds and Eds: The Key to Arizona Leapfrogging Ahead in the 21st Century, probes the realities of Arizona becoming a leader in biosciences and calls upon the state to take action through five steps. Arizona faces two major challenges, the report observes. The state faces kinks in its Meds and Eds base, including talent shortages, research weakness and a lack of medical schools, and is behind the curve in these areas. Simply playing catch-up, the report notes, will not work.
The author suggests Arizona follow the lead of younger regions such as Austin and San Diego, which have leapfrogged the competition in science and technology by creating new assets and combining them with existing ones in a new way. These two regions should act as a playbook for Arizona as it moves forward because both have demonstrated the power of knowledge assets, talent, proximity, collaboration and bold moves, the report states.
To encourage state leaders to think strategically about its goals, the report has developed a strategic framework that reveals opportunity by merging health research and health care. Working in its favor is the state’s strong foundation, according to the report. Arizona already has taken important steps through actions such as the Biosciences Roadmap (see the Dec. 6, 2002 issue of the Digest), the creation of TGen, and Proposition 301, a sales tax increase to support research at the state’s universities.
Although the state will not lead in medical discoveries unless its universities and research centers are loaded with top talent and research dollars, perhaps most important to Arizona’s success in leapfrogging ahead is its ability to link these institution’s agendas together, the report concludes. In synchronizing their resources and priorities with local technology enterprises, they can form the interconnections that foster knowledge transform, collaboration, and support that cannot easily be replicated by other regions.
Meds and Eds: The Key to Arizona Leapfrogging Ahead in the 21st Century is available from the Arizona Board of Regents at: http://www.abor.asu.edu/
Copyright State Science & Technology Institute 2005. Redistribution to all others interested in tech-based economic development is strongly encouraged please cite the State Science & Technology Institute whenever portions are reproduced or redirected.
The Montana BioScience Alliance: http://www.montanabio.org
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