Governor proposes innovation fund for science, technology

January 17, 2006

By hammersmith

Gov. Janet Napolitano announced at her 2006 State of the State address the creation of a public-private partnership to boost Arizona’s science and technology sectors.

The partnership, called “Innovation Arizona,” would support a number of scientific fields, including the biosciences.

“If we want Arizona to be the high-tech powerhouse it can be, we need to invest in the research and innovation that will produce it,” she said.

“Innovation Arizona” has two parts. The first calls for funding that will attract world-class researchers to the state. The second asks for the state to support research that can be commercialized and brought to the market.

Napolitano requested $25 million in state dollars in her FY 2007 budget to fund the effort.

The program is inspired by existing institutions in the United States and abroad. Napolitano’s proposal specifically mentions Ireland–a country who’s once-flagging economy is now a biotech powerhouse, thanks in part to the creation five years ago of Science Foundation Ireland. Since its inception, SFI has helped form 160 new research groups, 34 of them chaired by leading scientists who came to Ireland from laboratories abroad.

Napolitano also addressed the need for an improved education system in Arizona, particularly in the math and sciences.

“We expect our students to be more technologically literate, more grounded in math and science, and more adept at lifelong learning than ever before,” she said.

Napolitano called on the Legislature to raise teacher salaries, provide professional development for educators, and support increased funding for community colleges and universities.

For more information:

Budget offers tech support,” Arizona Republic, 01/18/2006

Governor’s State of the State Address, 01/11/2006