Arizona’s Public Universities deliver solutions for Arizona’s challenges through TRIF research

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Arizona’s Public Universities deliver solutions for Arizona’s challenges through TRIF research

February 10, 2022

Research conducted at Arizona’s public universities through the Technology and Research Initiative Fund enables solutions-focused research and technology advances to solve grand challenges facing the state. TRIF plans approved by the board today include new TRIF Opportunity Initiative funds and revised three-year project plans.

“Driving solutions to improve health, secure renewable energy, manage forest health, expand and protect our water supply and more, TRIF is an investment for Arizonans by Arizonans,” said Regent Fred DuVal, chair of the Research and Health Sciences Committee.

TRIF was established by Arizonans who voted for Proposition 301 that utilizes sales tax revenue to fund the state’s public schools and vital research at Arizona’s public universities.

“Our north star of accountability must be this: Will the residents of Arizona directly benefit from the extraordinary research made possible by TRIF? I believe, unequivocally – yes. Our public universities are driving solutions to make our state a better place to live,” Regent DuVal added.

TRIF funds utilized by the universities focus on research and issues that matter to Arizona - improving health; water, environment and energy solutions; national security systems; space exploration and optical solutions; and workforce development. New Opportunity Initiative funds and revised three-year plans represent TRIF revenue received above projected estimates. 

“Our universities are on the leading edge of innovative research and development that will benefit Arizona and the world long into the future,” said ABOR Chair Lyndel Manson. “Through TRIF, our universities are promoting the long-term prosperity, health, security and strength of Arizona communities.”

In fiscal year 2021, the board received more TRIF revenue than originally budgeted. The board is distributing to the universities a significant portion of the additional revenue received as TRIF Opportunity Initiative Funds, which the board allocates on a year-by-year and university-by-university basis to support research in areas of focus for the state and for improving Arizona workforce and higher education access.

TRIF Opportunity Initiative Fund plans are here: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona.

Among Opportunity Initiative fund projects and revised three-year TRIF plans at the universities are:

Arizona State University:

  • Improving Arizona’s power grid security and stability through research and programs utilizing ASU’s cybersecurity expertise.
  • Focusing on pandemic resilience and preparedness with the creation of the Arizona Health Observatory to act quickly and appropriately when an emerging disease or health challenge first appears.
  • Working to improve Arizona’s health-care supply chain resilience by integrating the university’s existing supply chain expertise with experts in health-care delivery.

Northern Arizona University:

  • Investing in programs designed to increase the number and diversity of Arizona resident students in higher education, especially from underserved and rural communities, and increasing enrollment and degrees awarded to time- and place-bound students.
  • Increasing funding into research to improve forest health and lessen the risks of catastrophic wildfires.
  • Investing in programs to better align educational offerings to Arizona’s workforce needs, ensuring students have access to meaningful opportunities after graduation.

University of Arizona

  • Investing in the Institute for the Future of Data and Computing designed to develop the secure use of data at scale, especially for human medical and clinical research data.
  • Supporting aging citizens and their families through the PREPARE Program by aligning Arizona’s geriatric workforce needs with training opportunities, and providing accessible and affordable educational opportunities for diverse students to join the health-care workforce.
  • Providing TRIF funds to support research into Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

To better integrate the work of the universities and the state, new Regents Grants under development will address critical issues in Arizona in conjunction with state experts. Working with the governor’s office, state agencies and key experts, problem statements will be developed, and Regents Grants awarded to faculty members from the universities to address these issues.

Approved by the board today are a revised TRIF three-year budget, and amended three-year TRIF plans for ASU, NAU and UArizona. TRIF three-year project plans are available here.

Sarah Harper, 602-229-2542, 602-402-1341 |
Julie Newberg, 602-229-2534 |