Universities Central to Arizona Economic and Technology Development Plan

The Governor’s Council on Innovation & Technology in Arizona is using a pair of new reports about university research to help draw up a statewide strategic plan for economic development. The reports were presented to the Council at its April meeting.

Contact: Paul Kalomiris
Economic and Technology Policy Studies
NGA Center for Best Practices

Positioning Arizona and Its Research Universities recommends that the state determine how to further build its growing research stature and reputation in specific university research fields that also can link to the state’s efforts to build its economic future through public-private partnerships among industry, higher education and government. The three public research universities in Arizona generate a combined $500 million a year in research funding.

Seeds of Prosperity suggests that the state must learn a new set of rules in order to be competitive within the knowledge economy:

* Advances in science and technology will create enormous wealth, as they have done for the last half century, but changes will occur even faster than before.

* Innovation has joined natural resources, money and people as the fourth critical ingredient for economic growth.

* Knowledge businesses will rely on universities to prepare, attract and retain innovators and to develop new scientific products for commercialization. Therefore, a region’s economic competitiveness increasingly will depend on the research strength and quality of its universities.

The report also discusses preliminary results of Proposition 301, an Arizona measure approved by voters in November 2000 that created a sales tax whose revenue is directed toward investments in science and technology research. For example, Arizona State University has had generally positive results from the $15 million in projects funded so far.

Governor Janet Napolitano created the Council on Innovation & Technology by executive order in January. The council’s objectives are to strengthen the state’s innovation and technology infrastructure and to enhance university research and education in high-technology fields.

* Governor’s Council on Innovation & Technology,1188,C_FRONT_CENTER%5ED_5525,00.html

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