Charting a Course for Arizona's Technology-Based Economic Development
Dec 01, 2009
Kevin Klowden and Anita Charuworn, with Ross DeVol

Note: The executive summary is available here.

Arizona has several important resources needed to build a successful high-tech economy, including three large research universities, several high-tech industries and organizations that promote technology growth. However, the state is lagging behind in terms of skilled, educated workers, sufficient capital to fund research and expansion by entrepreneurs; and state-level leadership that is informed and committed to implementing well-considered, long-range development strategies.

If Arizona wants to remain competitive in the post-recession economy, it must move quickly to build a healthy, job-intensive technology sector. This report suggests that strategic planning, virtual and brick and mortar business incubators, retaining high-tech graduates, and creating incentives for green technology are all necessary to keep the state competitive in science and technology sectors.

The report includes recommendations to enhance Arizona's competitiveness:

  • Expand programs -- and make a concerted effort to retain graduates -- in engineering and applied sciences, especially in those fields in high demand by local employers, while utilizing two-year colleges to train local workers for entry-level positions.
  • Further develop the technology clusters around the state universities and improve the ease of technology transfer.
  • Keep and grow high-tech companies by providing coordinated assistance for firms at all levels of government and improving access to capital.
  • Implement an incentive-based strategy in green technology, especially solar energy.
  • Develop and execute a comprehensive strategic plan led by government, industry, and universities, and guarantee funding over several years to produce results.

The report was sponsored, in part, by of Science Foundation Arizona and completed with cooperation of Arizona State University.