Roadmap luncheons highlight Arizona’s bioscience growth and entrepreneurship

April 10, 2015

By Matt Ellsworth

2014_progress_brochureThe Flinn Foundation hosted three Bioscience Roadmap luncheons in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff to highlight the growth of Arizona’s bioscience sector over the past year, with a special focus on progress in bioscience entrepreneurship and economic development.

The luncheons held March 31-April 2 attracted about 450 people who heard entrepreneurial success stories, how the state’s universities are playing a critical role in the commercialization of research, economic development updates about the biosciences, as well as the perspective of an Arizona congresswoman.

In addition, a new publication that features the major bioscience developments of the past year—“2014 Progress of the Biosciences in Arizona”— was released.

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally was the keynote speaker at the Tucson luncheon, where she offered her support of the state’s bioscience industry and answered questions from the audience about issues pertinent to the bioscience community.

In Phoenix, Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein provided information about tech transfer at the state’s universities, while Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng spoke in Flagstaff about research at NAU.

A panel discussion was held in each city featuring entrepreneurs as well as economic development leaders.

“The speakers and discussions during these Roadmap luncheons showed that momentum is strong for bioscience entrepreneurism in Arizona,” said Jack B. Jewett, President and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “There are numerous success stories and many more to come.”

The entrepreneurship theme aligns with the first of five goals of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap—to form a hub of bioscience entrepreneurs and new enterprises across Arizona.

The annual luncheons continue a tradition that originated during the first decade of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, which was commissioned by the Flinn Foundation in 2002 and updated in 2014 to guide the state through 2025.

In the second decade of the Roadmap, bioscience metrics in subjects such as jobs, wages, firms, and federal grant funding are being compiled and reported publicly every other year instead of annually.  As a result, updated metrics were not released this year, but will be announced at the 2016 luncheons.