A new study on science and technology programs at Arizona’s universities suggests that the state has several areas of excellence beyond the biosciences that have potential as economic drivers.
The Battelle Memorial Institute study, presented last week to state technology and education leaders, identified core competencies that have the potential to be competitive nationally. Many of the disciplines are complementary to Arizona’s biosciences industry, which Battelle studied comprehensively in 2002.
The areas of strength are:
- Communications (electronics and optics, computer modeling and simulation, chemistry and materials, space sciences)
- Information technology (electronics, computer modeling, chemistry)
- Bioengineering (a broad array of disciplines)
- Sustainable systems (ecological sciences, agriculture and plant sciences)
The report, “Positioning Arizona’s Research Universities: Science and Technology Core Competencies Assessment,” was presented last week in Tucson to the Board of Regents and the Governor’s Council for Innovation and Technology. It was sponsored by the state Commerce and Economic Development Commission.
The areas were chosen because of their breadth and depth at Arizona universities, competitiveness, and relevance to a variety of business areas. The report’s recommendations include:
- Combine research areas and develop them into “technology platforms” that could be sources of innovative technologies for Arizona’s economy;
- Encourage collaboration between universities and industry on related research areas;
- Expand research, management, and entrepreneurial talent;
- Improve business development and marketing for the new areas, as well as technology transfer from universities to start-up companies.