Arizona provides distinct advantages for businesses on the path of innovation from idea to finished application. With particular emphasis on aerospace, defence, the biosciences, advanced communications, IT, environmental technologies, and advanced manufacturing, Arizona builds its workforce in partnership with industry. The state has created a synergy of ideal location, year-round near perfect weather, competitive operating costs, and world-class educational and infrastructure assets.

Arizona’s entry into the aerospace and defence industries pre-dates World War II when Motorola established itself there to develop military communications systems – a presence that steadily grew with the emergence of modern electronics and the semiconductor industry. Today, industry leaders like Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup-Grumman and Orbital Sciences provide an anchor for Arizona’s diverse portfolio of companies involved in advanced manufacturing, communications, IT, financial services and cutting edge sciences including nano-technology, optics, and space instrumentation.


By all measures, Arizona’s aerospace and defence companies – and their suppliers – are soaring:

  • The state ranks in the top five for federal defence contracts and the top 10 for aerospace exports.
  • In 2002, Arizona won more than $6.6bn in US Department of Defense contracts and this figure is already up 30% for 2004-2005.
  • In 2003, it exported about $13bn worth of aerospace products.

Arizona’s entrepreneurs are leveraging this success, winning hefty research grants to develop prototypes that support these projects.

Education and funding

Arizona is poised for the next wave of technological advancement. A 20-year funding package has been approved for science and technology training in Arizona schools and universities, linking education, workforce development and robust economic growth. In December 2002, Governor Janet Napolitano’s first Technology Summit led to creation of the Council on Innovation and Technology, helping ensure Arizona’s place in the 21st century economy.

Arizona’s three public universities are blazing trails in aerospace, the biosciences, advanced communications/IT, and the development of a world-class sustainable systems industry. Last year the Arizona legislature approved a total of $440m in funding to build leading edge research facilities at the universities. The US Army also awarded Arizona State University (ASU) $43.7m to establish its Flexible Display Center. And the University of Arizona (UA), the Stanford Research Institute International and the US Food and Drug Administration recently launched the Institute for Global Pharmaceutical Development in Tucson.

The Arizona Center for Innovation, Arizona Technology Enterprises, and Technopolis focus on growing Arizona’s entrepreneurial companies, promoting the commercialisation of research and technology. Continuing leadership in effective resource utilisation, Governor Napolitano recently formed a virtual Water University, linking water management expertise and the R&D strengths of Arizona’s universities into a first-of-its-kind collaboration.

Commitment to the future

The opening of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN) on March 22, 2005 is evidence of Arizona’s meteoric growth in the biosciences and commitment to the future. TGEN is a state-wide, public-private partnership, capitalising on notable university and medical centre achievements in cancer therapeutics, neurological sciences and bioengineering. Its aim is to attract the International Genomics Consortium, bringing in world-renowned scientists and researchers and creating knowledge-based jobs to diversify the economy. TGEN’s 170,000 square-foot laboratory and office building, in the heart of downtown Phoenix, will be the keystone for an emerging bio-corridor between Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, UA and ASU. The development of a further two million square feet is planned in the next five years, as part of the 24-acre downtown Phoenix Biomedical Center.

The Arizona advantage blends opportunity, educational excellence, workforce leadership, innovative technologies and new discoveries that revitalise industries and create new ones. Strategies that advance Arizonans intellectually and economically – guided by policies and programmes that facilitate the state’s competitive position – are the vital, long-term investments which ensure that Arizona’s quality of life continues to be as envied as the climate.