Regents approve funds for bio-related projects

October 2, 2003

By hammersmith

The Arizona Board of Regents approved several measures at its September 25-26 meeting that impact the state’s biosciences industry, including research buildings at Arizona State University, a new University of Arizona Science Center, and a pool of funds to fight brain-drain at UA.

ASU Research Buildings

The Regents approved ASU’s $317.6 million capital development plan, including:

  • $74 million for the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences and Technology Building, scheduled for completion in November 2005.
  • $10 million for ASU’s portion of the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building involving the three state universities.
  • $10 million for renovation of approximately 33,000 square feet of physical and life science labs in 10 buildings.

The Regents also approved implementation of the second phase of ASU’s $73 million Arizona Biodesign Institute facility. The first phase is underway, and two floors have been completed. According to the State Press, the building should be ready for occupancy in October 2004.

UA Science Center

The Regents also approved the University of Arizona’s request to fund $56 million of an $82 million science center in downtown Tucson.

The UA Science Center is part of the Rio Nuevo downtown revitalization project. It would feature 13 exhibits, including an observatory, mineral museum, butterfly vivarium, IMAX giant-screen theater, and a “unispherium”–a type of planetarium.

The center, expected to open in 2008, would bring in an estimated 420,000 visitors annually to downtown Tucson. It would replace the Flandrau Science Center that is currently on campus.

UA Brain Drain

The Regents approved $13.1 million for UA to boost salaries in an attempt to retain top professors. According to the Tucson Citizen, the three state universities lost more than 500 faculty to competing schools in the last fiscal year, including prized professors in the sciences. UA lost 60 last year alone, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Citing a Board of Regents report, the Citizen detailed how, during the last fiscal year, UA pay was less than 74 percent of the compensation at its peer institutions. UA leaders said it would take $64.3 million to raise salaries to match those earned at peer universities, according to the Star.

Pay and research space are two primary reasons that professors cite for leaving Arizona for competing institutions. When they leave, they often take grants and additional scientists with them.

For more information:

Regents OK $317M campus improvements,” State Press, 09/29/2003

Regents approve $105M for science, technology upgrades,” State Press, 09/29/2003

Regents approve science center,” Arizona Daily Star, 09/27/2003

UA gets OK to fund science center,” Tucson Citizen, 09/27/2003

Regents OK UA Science Center plan,” Arizona Daily Wildcat, 09/29/2003

Tucson eyes new downtown,” Tucson Citizen, 09/27/2003

UA given $13 million to counter brain drain,” Tucson Citizen, 09/27/2003

“UA seeks $15M a year to fight ‘brain drain’,” Arizona Daily Star, 09/21/2003