Fueling Growth: The Arizona Center for Innovation at the U of A Tech Park

Ceremony Dedicates Arizona Center for Innovation

The Arizona Center for Innovation was dedicated on Jan. 18 in a ceremony at the UA Tech Park.

By Jessa B. Turner, Office of University Research Parks, January 18, 2012

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer spoke at a Jan. 18, 2012  event dedicating a technology business incubator at the UA Tech Park.

The Arizona Center for Innovation, or AzCI, a technology business incubator located at the UA Tech Park in Tucson, dedicated its new facilities on Jan. 18.

AzCI helps local entrepreneurs and inventors transform their innovative ideas and discoveries into successful high technology companies.

The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by more than 150 community and university leaders. The audience heard remarks from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer; UA President Eugene G. Sander; Bruce Wright, UA associate vice president for University Research Parks; Henry Koffler, UA president emeritus and chair of the Arizona Center for Innovation Advisory Committee; and Joann MacMaster, director of the Arizona Center for Innovation.

“The Arizona Center for Innovation is part of the engine that will power us into Arizona’s second century,” said Brewer. “This is an investment that will bring novel technologies to the marketplace, create high-wage jobs and expand and diversify the economy of southern Arizona.”

In July, Brewer announced a $1.5 million state grant for the Arizona Center for Innovation. The purpose of the grant was to advance the technology commercialization efforts of AzCI. Using these funds, AzCI revamped its innovative business development curriculum as well as expanded and upgraded its office and laboratory offerings.

AzCI expanded its business program including new workshops, video tutorials and an interactive website. By providing more content electronically, AzCI is able to provide 24/7 support for its clients.

The incubator also published a new business development manual, “Incubation Workbook: Navigating Innovation from Concept to Commercialization” that provides clients in the early phases of business development with a step-by-step guide on how to set-up and develop their company as they get started.

AzCI also increased it physical offerings. AzCI’s new space was specially designed to suit the needs of start-up companies. The Arizona Center for Innovation occupies 18,000 square feet of space in Building 9040.

An interactive area, known as the Collaboration Center, was designed to allow for clients and mentors to meet and collaborate. There are also 10 semi-private client offices, state of the art video conference room, a computer and Internet server room, a workspace for copying, filing and storage, as well as a library and administrative offices.

The center’s new entrance is more prominent giving it a more visible presence in the building and park and a direct route to laboratory space.

The center’s wet lab space, which includes 14 laboratory benches, also was upgraded to include a new prep lab, along with new equipment including a Bio-Safety Cabinet, Nanopure water system, UV/Vis-spectrophotometer, incubator, autoclave, oven, centrifuge, biological microscope, top loading balance and more.

The AzCI team has been expanded to include an on-site lab manager to insure the consistency, reliability, quality, and integrity of testing and development.  AzCI’s has adopted Good Laboratory Practice standards, which is an industry standard for conducting non-clinical research and drug development.

Dry labs were added to provide incubator companies the opportunity to work on product design. These labs include a portable class 100 cleanbooth, fume extractor, stereoscope with digital camera, portable dehumidifier, eight pre-wired benches and compressed air. The design of the labs allows clients to configure the space to meet their research and development requirements.

“The updated programs and facilities have created a dynamic environment that inspires, encourages and empowers new entrepreneurs, leading to new business growth here in Tucson,” said MacMaster. “We are focused on providing the best support possible for each individual company we support.” The Arizona Center for Innovation was founded in 2003 with 2,300 square feet of space. Throughout the years, AzCI has assisted more than 50 clients. The Arizona Center for Innovation is a nonprofit business incubator, helping entrepreneurs and inventors transform their innovative ideas into successful companies in Southern Arizona.  AzCI is located at the UA Tech Park.

The Office of University Research Parks, or OURP, plays a significant role in economic development with a focused approach on utilizing research parks and business incubators as technology development and commercialization tools.

OURP accomplishes this by creating environments that support and promote research, education, technology innovation and commercialization, and high technology business development and attraction. OURP oversees the UA Tech Park, UA Bio Park and the Arizona Center for Innovation.

Posted in AZBio News, Opportunities.