José Luis Cruz Rivera, president of Northern Arizona University, has homed in on a workforce-development issue that’s challenging his new state. While scores of employers are expanding into Arizona and hiring workers, the state’s level of education attainment, which is the percentage of adults who complete education after high school, trails the national average.
Northern Arizona University
The Arizona Board of Regents, the body that oversees the state’s three public universities, approved on Thursday new technology-focused funding plans for Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. The new funding will last for three years and under the approved proposals UA and ASU will each receive $32 million annually, while NAU will get $16 million per year.
As the United States looks to fulfill its semiconductor needs on its own, Arizona is fast emerging as a base for the domestic industry’s revival. View the Fall 2021 issue of TechConnect Magazine to read articles from TGen, Avnet, Arizona Commerce Authority, Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, UArizona and more.
The summer of 2021 is leading the record books for businesses relocating to Arizona, including semiconductor manufacturers, electric car makers and many other tech companies. While most relocations and expansions are happening in the Valley, Northern Arizona is also attracting companies. Major companies like Intel, Raytheon, Benchmark Electronics and numerous others are driving these advancements in the state, he added, along with Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.
In fiscal year 2020 alone, NAU inventors were issued 19 patents, filed 41 new patent applications and submitted 43 new invention disclosures. Because of the effort and investment involved, however, not many researchers have the resources needed to commercialize their inventions, much less launch startup companies to take their technologies to the marketplace. But NAU assistant professor and alum Zach Lerner has successfully done both—all within just a few years of beginning his career.
Arizona State University and the University of Arizona spun out more startups and issued more patents in 2020 than they did in 2019 — with the potential to contribute millions of dollars to the state’s economy. The two state universities spun out 38 startups in fiscal 2020, up from 29 in fiscal 2019. They also issued 222 patents in fiscal 2020, up from 185 in fiscal 2019.
NAU Associate professor Fatemeh Afghah is developing algorithms that will enable a fleet of smart and autonomous drones to assess situations, change course, stand up against environmental factors, communicate with other drones and coordinate a strategy together, all with limited support from humans.
Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have opened the door for an unprecedented number of uses for unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs). Groups of drones now can work together in networks for purposes such as traffic control, smart agriculture, surveillance and security systems, law enforcement, public safety and much more.
Greg Caporaso, director of the Center for Applied Microbiome Science, part of the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute at Northern Arizona University, has been awarded a $3.75 million grant by the National Cancer Institute to build software capable of analyzing and archiving data focused on the interplay between the human microbiome (the trillions of microorganisms living in and on the human body) and diverse types of cancer.
Moderated by Phoenix Business RadioX, Dr. Rita Cheng of Northern Arizona University, Dr. Michael Crow of Arizona State University and Dr. Robert Robbins of The University of Arizona discussed how COVID-19 has shifted higher education, how each university is working to bring about innovation-based economic development to the state, the relationship between the tech community and the university system, as well as the challenges and opportunities are on the horizon.