The Arizona Board of Regents has approved new, three-year funding proposals from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona that will enable critical technology and research advancements through the Technology and Research Initiative Fund.
Established through Prop. 301 and utilizing sales tax revenues, TRIF funds vital research in public health, water, national security systems, workforce development and other key areas at Arizona’s public universities. TRIF delivers a tremendous return on investment for Arizona taxpayers. In FY 2021, the state invested $112.3 million in TRIF funds and in that same year, Arizona’s public universities generated $465 million in TRIF-enabled research from the previous TRIF investment. Total TRIF revenue received to date since the inception of the program in June 2001 is well over a billion dollars.
“Our universities are on the leading edge of innovative research and development that will benefit Arizona and the world long into the future,” said ABOR Chair Lyndel Manson. “These dollars will fund critical research that ensures ASU, NAU and UArizona to continue to act as problem-solvers and promote the long-term prosperity, health, security and strength of Arizona communities.”
Based on the universities’ proposals, the board will distribute an annual base amount of TRIF revenues to the universities under the following allocations:
• ASU: $32 million per year
• NAU: $16 million per year
• UA: $32 million per year
“TRIF is a unique and vital revenue source established to advance our university enterprise’s greatest mission: making Arizona more competitive in the global economy,” said Regent Fred DuVal, chair of the Research and Health Sciences Committee. “We recognize this funding is made possible through sales tax dollars being spent in our state every day by the people of Arizona – they are our investors, and our universities are held accountable for their investment by providing groundbreaking research that drives direct, real solutions for the citizens of Arizona.”
Each university proposal focuses on five strategic research areas: Improving Health; Water, Environment and Energy Solutions; National Security Systems; Space Exploration and Optical Solutions; and Workforce Development. Highlights of the approved plans for each university include:
Support of the ASU Biodesign Institute in addressing society’s greatest challenges in biomedical health, environmental sustainability and national security, including:
- Development of new ways to rapidly detect and diagnose COVID-19.
- Expansion of efforts in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and more to bolster online security.
- Establishment of the Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing to focus on the sustainable manufacturing of environmentally-friendly materials.
- Creation of the Arizona Coalition for Comprehensive Evaluation of Long-COVID (ACCEL).
- In partnership with Abrazo Health, Dignity Health, Honor Health, Mayo Clinic, Valleywise Health and more, ACCEL will establish collaborative research to better determine who is at greatest risk of severe COVID-19, including the development of long-term symptoms associated with the virus.
- Funding for ASU’s Global Futures Laboratory Programming to support multiple programs focused on new energy systems, water-related research and more to advance sustainability.
- Support of NAU’s Pathogen Genomics program to enable the rapid and reliable detection, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and emerging bio-threats.
- Major focus areas include the evolution, ecology, and epidemiology of human and animal pathogens.
Develop new flexible programming pathways that meet the unique labor demand and support needs of the communities and regions surrounding NAU’s 20 statewide sites.
- Academic programming includes, but not limited to, bachelor’s and master’s degrees with embedded micro-credentials and certificates that meets workforce demand and of statewide employers.
- Expansion of impactful community health research program to reduce health disparities.
Includes research into chronic health conditions such as cardiac disease, obesity, dental health, communicative disabilities, cancer and more.
- Community health researchers equip Native American, Hispanic and other students with multidisciplinary training to expand access to health resources in rural and underserved communities.
- Expansion of the delivery of cross-disciplinary 90/30 academic programs delivered online and statewide that align with current and projected workforce trends.
- Addition of undergraduate research opportunities.
- Aim to improve research access and graduate enrollment among underserved student groups.
- Support of health care initiatives to benefit aging populations.
- Advancement of research and development to better understand aging processes; development and progression of age-related diseases; potential treatments and interventions; and methods to promote independent living among older Arizonans.
- Special focus on brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions.
- Expansion of cyberdefense initiatives.
- Cyberdefense activities are intended to develop countermeasures and solutions to phishing, ransomware, advanced persistent threat and more.
“These technology and research investments are vital for our universities and Arizona as a whole – enabling groundbreaking research to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time,” said ABOR Executive Director John Arnold. “From advancements in health care to cybersecurity and water conservation, our universities are developing and bringing to market the technologies that are improving the lives of Arizona families every day.”
The approved three-year TRIF plans for ASU, NAU and UArizona can be viewed in their entirety here.