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This New Economy Initiative provides state funding to Arizona’s public universities to develop a skilled and diverse workforce and to enhance economic opportunity. Our request leverages existing strengths in Health, Mining and Space & Defense to address critical workforce shortages and establish Arizona as a leader in solving national and global challenges.



FY22 funding will enhance capacity to train and educate students for the high demand/high paying careers in national security, space technology, and planetary defense. 



Expand undergraduate programs that directly support the aerospace and defense industry by 1,300 additional students.  

UArizona is 1 of 4 higher education institutions in the nation positioned to fill the research and diverse workforce needs for the defense industry, specifically related to hypersonics.

Federal funding for hypersonics related research is expected to grow by over $200M in the next year. 

DoD, Raytheon, and other defense companies have expressed the need for more students graduating with degrees related to STEM and hypersonics systems.



Upgrades that allow UArizona to maintain its competitive edge in hypersonics modeling and simulation needs for testing, research, and training. 

DoD is planning to double its research in hypersonic capabilities from $6.2 billion to $11.2 billion by FY2024. Accessible hypersonics wind tunnels will help UArizona compete for this research.

Companies like Raytheon currently spend millions of dollars per year traveling to the handful of commercially available hypersonic testing facilities in the U.S.

Ensuring students are workforce ready requires hands on training and exposure to next-gen infrastructure. 

What is Hypersonics Flight?

The basis of many leading-edge developments at the DoD, hypersonic vehicles that travel at many times the speed of sound is necessary for the U.S. to stay ahead of our peer and near-peer adversaries to create the next evolution of civilian aircraft and warfare. 



Establish the Arizona Space Institute furthering UArizona’s competitiveness for DoD and NASA missions, industry partnerships and other large contracts. 

UArizona is #1 in astronomy and astrophysics, #4 in NASA funding among public universities and growing rapidly in DoD funding.

NASA’s FY20 budget shows an increase from $927 million to $1.5 billion for “Space Technology”, DoD FY20 indicates $30M for “Space Technology Development.” 

The cost to develop a competitive proposal for a large NASA or DoD contract has escalated dramatically over the last decade.

Proposal development for a major mission or contract can easily cost $1 million over two years, however the payoff is very large (major NASA mission - $500; major DoD contract - $50-$100M).


FY22 funding will enhance capacity to train and educate students for the high demand/high paying careers in national security, space technology, and planetary defense. 



Launch new programs, such as those highlighted below, to create the necessary pipeline 
of healthcare providers.  

7-year bachelor/MD Program:

Develop a 7-year Bachelor of Science/Medical Degree program. Debt has become a barrier for students interested in medical school, a BS/MD program will reduce debt and accelerate entry into the workforce.

K-12 Health Sciences Education: 

Create a high school dual enrollment course in health sciences and develop curriculum and teacher training to prepare K-12 students for STEM and health careers.

Addressing the healthcare workforce shortage requires a multifaceted approach, early engagement and education will help build a pipeline.



Establish the ACAI, which will focus on coordinated interdisciplinary approaches for the discovery and development of personalized cell and gene-based therapies in cancer, autoimmune disease, infectious disease, and organ and bone marrow transplantation.

Immunotherapy is a biological therapy that stimulates or suppresses the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection, and other diseases.

The ongoing COVID pandemic has highlighted the criticality of immunology in the diagnosis, public health management and development of effective therapy vaccine development. 



The University of Arizona is a world leader in mineral resources and mining engineering. FY22 funding will establish Arizona’s only School of Mining. This school will foster innovative research and create interdisciplinary degree programs across engineering, science, law, and business. 


The demand for copper is expected to rise 275 – 350% by 2050 due to the electrification of energy.

Modernization of the mining workforce is more important than ever as the industry renews its commitment to sustainability and safety. Innovation is key as mining engineers face mineral deposits that are increasingly difficult to extract.



Rounds Consulting Group, Inc. conducted an independent economic and fiscal impact analysis of the UArizona’s FY22 NEI request. The analysis demonstrated that Arizona would experience a significant return on investment.


“Over the 20-year analysis period, an estimated $3.9B in state and local tax revenues will be generated from the $640.0M investment ($32.0M a year).”

UArizona’s investment proposal will support 23,487 jobs by year 10 and 57,334 jobs by year 20.

Over 20 years, approximately $32.6B in labor income (i.e., the wages and benefits) will be created for the jobs that are supported by UArizona’s proposal.

A total of $94.6B in economic output (i.e., the value of goods or services produced in an area) will be generated by UArizona’s proposal over the 20-year period.

UArizona’s $32.0M investment proposal will generate a total of $3.9B in tax revenues (i.e., $2.0B in state tax revenues and $1.9B in local tax revenues) over the 20-year investment timeframe. 

The breakeven point for the state’s investment in UArizona is achieved by year 9. In year 10, a positive ROI occurs and increases each year thereafter. The breakeven point occurs in less than half of the amount of time than would be considered acceptable for this type of investment (20-years). 

Source: Rounds Consulting Group, Inc. 

New Economy Initiative Stories from UArizona

New Economy Initiative in the news


The Region’s Biotech Engine: UArizona Fuels Innovative Research, Startups Q&A with UArizona’s Dr. Robert C. Robbins
October 1, 2021 (see Full Bioscience issue)

Jennifer Barton: Engineering Research Outcomes Through Collaboration
October 1, 2021 (see Full Bioscience issue)

Phoenix Business Journal
As copper demand grows, UArizona takes high-tech approach to educating mining workforce
September 20, 2021 (see PDF version)

UArizona School of Mining and Mineral Resources gets $4 million from state legislature
September 17, 2021 (see Full Bioscience issue)

Mining Connection
State legislature approves $4 million for UArizona School of Mining and Mineral Resources
September 16, 2021

Arizona Daily Star
University of Arizona puts hypersonics research program in hyperdrive
August 28, 2021

Phoenix Business Journal
Arizona universities spin out more startups, issue more patents, despite pandemic
April 26, 2021 (see PDF version)

AZ Big Media
NAU’s first Latino president looks to build economic 'powerhouse'
April 15, 2021

Chamber Business News
NAU’s first Latino president sets sights on new economy, raising per capita income
April 12, 2021

University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins interviewed on 'Tipping Point with Zach Yentzer'
April 2. 2021

Greater Phoenix Chamber
Arizona's university leaders discuss innovation, the new economy
February 18, 2021

AZ Big Media
What's next for education in Arizona?
February 9, 2021

Arizona PBS Horizon
Impeachment, voter bills, ABOR plan to lead Arizona's post-pandemic economic recovery
February 8, 2021

Arizona Governor's Office
RIMER: Preparing Arizona's Future Workforce
February 6, 2021

Arizona Board of Regents' New Economy Initiative aims to bolster state's economy, education
February 4, 2021

AZ Big Media
'New Economy Initiative' aims to elevate Arizona’s per capita income
January 26, 2021

Cronkite News
Arizona's three universities hope to increase Arizona Teachers Academy enrollment
March 12, 2020

Pinal Central
Ducey’s budget earmarks $35 million for new economy occupations
January 17, 2020

Board seeks $165 million from state in 2021 for Arizona's three universities
September 6, 2019