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Arizona Can Reap Major Returns on Bioscience Research

Condensed from OpEd By Greg Stanton, Michael Crow and Wyatt Decker for The Arizona Republic

Rendering Credit: Floor Associates

Rendering Credit: Floor Associates

Original headline: Unleashing the Power of Bioscience Research

When state leaders launched an ambitious plan to invest in the biosciences a decade ago, they did so for a simple reason: to break free from our economic handcuffs to only a few industries. We had to compete where significant and sustainable job growth was more likely to take place.

The Great Recession swept away 300K jobs — one-tenth of the workforce — in just three years. Nearly half were construction jobs.

Yet, even in the dark cloud of the recession, there was a silver lining: Bioscience investment paid off, and the burgeoning industry weathered the storm. While the private sector shed 11 percent of its jobs, bioscience jobs grew 6 percent. And during the recovery period through 2011, bioscience jobs were up 11 percent.

Arizona’s bioscience gains are the result of the public and private sectors working hand in hand to stay true to Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap.

State leaders and voters understood the stakes and approved funds that helped shape world-class bioscience centers: the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and the Bio5 Institute at the University of Arizona.

Phoenix put together the land necessary to open a 28-acre biomedical campus downtown to encourage collaboration among researchers, academics and clinicians. Today, the campus is anchored by TGen, and includes education and research facilities from ASU, UA and Northern Arizona University, including UA’s new $100M, 220KSF Cancer Center.

These accomplishments are just a few among hundreds, which added up to a substantial economic contribution. Industry jobs nearly doubled over the past decade and now total 100K across the state; bioscience non-profits and companies grew to nearly 900 strong; the sector’s annual economic impact is an impressive $28.8B.

Greg Stanton is mayor of Phoenix. Michael Crow is president of Arizona State University. Wyatt Decker is vice president and chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

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