Bioscience

Northern Arizona launches regional roadmap

December 12, 2006

By Flinn Foundation

Regional leadership gathered at a breakfast Thursday, Dec. 7, at Northern Arizona University for the kickoff meeting of the Northern Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee.

The committee, jointly chaired by Flagstaff Mayor Joseph C. Donaldson, NAU President John Haeger, and Stephanie McKinney, president and CEO of the Greater Flagstaff Economic Council, will oversee the implementation of the regional roadmap, which identifies existing bioscience-related activity, opportunities, and challenges unique to Northern Arizona.

Regional roadmaps are the next phase of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, the 10-year statewide strategic plan set out in 2002 by Battelle. The announcement of the Northern Arizona Roadmap Steering Committee follows on the heels of the release of the Southern Arizona Regional Roadmap in November.

Walter H. Plosila, Ph.D. vice president of Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice, presented the regional roadmap findings and recommendations at the kickoff meeting. Highlights included:

  • Overall employment in Flagstaff biosciences is up nearly 20% from 2001 to 2005 Hospitals accounted for 70% of Flagstaff area bioscience jobs in 2005; the sector has experienced 13% job growth since 2001
  • The major component of the non-hospital sector in Flagstaff is medical devices, which accounts for 96% of non-hospital employment and has had a 39% job growth since 2001
  • This sector is almost eight times as strongly represented in Flagstaff as it is nationwide

Also announced at the committee meeting was a seven-point work plan, including economic analysis, gap analysis, and a Northern Arizona Bioscience Roadmap, to be released in mid-2007.

By narrowing their focus, regional roadmaps can better leverage local assets, such as Flagstaff’s WL Gore & Associates Inc., SenesTech and Blue Mountain Technologies, or NAU’s investment in significant new lab facilities and Applied Research and Development facility.

“We’re building for the future,” said Haeger. “Take for example the expansion of the Engineering Building, the new Wettaw Building, new Applied Research and Development Building, and new Biology/Biochemistry Laboratory Building–in total, over 150,000 square feet of lab research space.”

Other developments include the City of Flagstaff’s approval of a new Science and Technology complex at the existing U.S. Geological Survey campus, and plans by Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to open a Center for Pathogen Diagnostics at the new Airport Business Park alongside Machine Solutions, Inc., a high-growth company in the medical device industry.

“NAU and the biosciences are synonymous,” said Haeger.

For more information:

Area’s bioscience roadmap making good progress,” Arizona Daily Sun, 12/12/2006