Science Foundation Arizona revealed plans Wednesday to disburse $35 million in grants and fellowships next year to stimulate high-tech development in Arizona.
The program is intended to enhance the competitiveness of the state’s science, engineering, medical research and technology industries.
Money for the effort is coming from Arizona’s 21st Century Fund created this year by the state Legislature with support from Gov. Janet Napolitano.
The long-term purpose is to create jobs and increase the probability of success for the next-generation of Arizona high-tech companies.
“We want Arizona to become a place where top-notch researchers and industry-academic partnerships create an advantage for our state,” said William Harris, president and chief executive of Science Foundation Arizona.
“Other countries are making progress more rapidly than Arizona and most other states,” said Don Budinger, chairman of the foundation. “If we are behind in R and D and high technology, our economy will be increasingly vulnerable to . . . new global challenges.”
Science Foundation Arizona will fund projects based on a competitive bidding process. The agency will begin accepting applications for the awards this month.
In the first year, investments will fall primarily into five categories:
• Graduate Student Fellowships: Science Foundation Arizona will award scholarships of up to $50,000 to students participating in graduate programs at Arizona’s researchperforming institutions such as Arizona State University. Up to 80 science, math and engineering grad students will be supported.
• Competitive Advantage Awards: Science Foundation Arizona will provide interim funding for research projects to help them develop competitive proposals to be submitted to the federal government for full funding.
• Strategic Research Groups: Science Foundation Arizona will solicit proposals from Arizona institutions to fund research partnerships with industry. The target is to establish up to 10 such research groups in 2007 and increase their chances of attracting federal research funding.
• Small Business Catalytic Funding: This program provides “seed” investments to create companies that will commercialize innovations developed at Arizona research institutions.
• K-12 Student and Teacher Discovery: Science Foundation Arizona will initiate a program of internships for up to 150 high school science and math teachers beginning next summer.
The student portion will fund participation by kindergarten through 12th grade students, particularly from rural Arizona, in science activities such as science summer camps and competitions.
Awards will be based on the quality of the proposal, the track record of the applicants and strategic value of their research to Arizona, Harris said.
Investment plan for 2006-2207
• Graduate student fellowships - $4 million
• Competitive advantage awards - $5 million
• Strategic research groups - $18 million
• Small business catalytic funding - $2 million
• K-12 students - $1.5 million
• Highs school teachers - $ 2 million Strategic Initiatives throughout the year - $2 million
• Review/management - $500,000