Articles of incorporation have been filed for Science Foundation Arizona, a nonprofit statewide organization established to advance strategically the state’s bioscience agenda.
Don Budinger, one of the founding directors of Science Foundation Arizona and director of the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona, wrote in an Arizona Republic op-ed that the foundation was formed to “execute a strategic plan that calls for us to build and strengthen the state’s medical, scientific, and engineering research programs and infrastructure in the areas of the greatest strategic value to Arizona’s competitiveness.”
In addition to Budinger, the other founding directors include: John Murphy of the Flinn Foundation, Tom Browning of Greater Phoenix Leadership, and Steven W. Lynn of Uni-source Energy, a parent company of Tucson Electric Power. The effort is led by business leadership groups–Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and Flagstaff 40.
The foundation has yet to hire a chief executive officer. But Browning said the foundation is hoping to hire a high level CEO that can bring national and international attention to Arizona’s efforts to promote the biosciences.
The business community has pledged to pay the foundation’s operating expenses, and the founders hope a public-private partnership will build up the seed money necessary to initiate projects.
Already Jerry Bisgrove, chairman of the Stardust Charitable Group, has pledged to donate $100 million to the foundation if the legislature passes a bill to spend $50 million on bioscience research and development this year and $100 million over the next few years.
That would give Science Foundation Arizona $350 million with which to engage in projects to help Arizona become nationally and internationally competitive in the biosciences.
Earlier this year the Virginia G. Piper Center pledged $50 million to create ten endowed chairs for world class bioscience researchers.
People involved in biosciences around the country are being taken off guard by the recent developments in Arizona, and the dollars being donated right now are giving the state real traction, said Jon McGarity, president and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association.
“We’re in the final stages of examining what it would take to stand on the shoulders of what exists now and be among the best in the world,” Budinger told the Republic.
Science Foundation Arizona is modeled in part after Science Foundation Ireland, a multi-billion government funded enterprise that has helped turn Ireland into a bioscience mecca.
For more information:
“Non-profit aids Ariz. bioscience,” Arizona Republic, 02/17/2006
“Science Foundation is born,” Arizona Republic (Don Budinger op-ed), 02/26/2006
“Big chips are falling into place for Arizona,” Arizona Republic, 02/26/2006
Gift boosts Ariz. As biosciences mecca,” Arizona Daily Star, 02/26/2006