Next Strategic Investments
Persistent institutional willingness to pool ideas and scientific resources has been the hallmark of Arizona’s success to date.
Arizona has a number of advantages that may allow it to leapfrog to the forefront of a revolution in the way that bioscience research is being conducted — one that will change how basic research discoveries are translated into real-world solutions to pressing biomedical needs. In contrast to more established regions that are based on the expertise of a single institution or caught in outdated structures, Arizona is distinctive in its statewide multi-institutional commitment of resources to further its bioscience goals.
To make this opportunity a reality in the months ahead, Arizona’s research and healthcare institutions, philanthropic organizations, and state and local governments must again pool resources and forge working partnerships.
• Research and Healthcare Institutions. Arizona’s research and healthcare institutions need to commit the time and resources to collaboratively shape a statewide clinical research structure. Federal research funding agencies have recently called for a “reengineering of the clinical research enterprise” to keep pace with a flood of basic research discoveries that have largely failed to materialize in the marketplace and clinic. As a first step, formation of an Arizona Translational Resource Network has been proposed to join hospitals and medical centers, private physician practices, research organizations, and private industry to resolve shortfalls and shape Arizona’s response to the need for personalized models of care.
• Philanthropic Organizations. Philanthropy has two important, complementary roles. The first is to function as a supportive, honest broker, facilitating and coordinating discussions among key players and encouraging successful collaborations among public and private sector leaders. The second is to serve as a strategic investor, joining these leaders to support the targeted needs of a growing bioscience sector. This will require entering into long-term partnerships with a commitment to build and sustain programs and assume a higher risk tolerance for grant success and failure.
• State and Local Governments. Government must invest in technically superior research facilities, a critical mass of faculty investigators, and a skilled workforce — the infrastructure investments that fuel economic growth. Government must also ensure that incentive-driven tax and regulatory policies designed to stimulate market-driven investments are in place. In today’s global economy, comparative advantage is gained through knowledge-intensive discoveries that produce next-generation products, and far less so by an abundant supply of land and low-cost labor as was once Arizona’s base.
In the near term, Arizona’s goal is to realize tangible economic growth and health benefits from the state’s proficient bioscience research base and its impressive array of medical research and healthcare facilities. In the long term, it is the elevation of Arizona’s bioscience research to national and international standing, a reality that will attract industry and talent for relocation and set up a cycle that will ultimately pay economic and health dividends far into the future.
With Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap as its guide, the Flinn Foundation will continue to encourage new public-private sector partnerships and support opportunities that promise to significantly strengthen Arizona’s competitive position and build a diverse and thriving future economy.
John W. Murphy
Chief Executive Officer