The Research Initiative Fund

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The Technology and Research Initiative Fund was established over 20 years ago with the passage of Proposition 301, which increased sales tax to fund K-12, community colleges, and public universities in Arizona. This funding allows the state’s public universities to conduct critical research on water, health, energy, and environmental solutions. Earlier, we spoke with Arizona Board of Regents Member Fred DuVal for more.

TRIF originated with Prop 301 30 years ago designed to create a competitive, information-based and technology-driven economy.

A “tiny piece” of the sales tax goes to TRIF which is then invested in research for solutions for Arizonans, economic development, and critical workforce to make Arizona more competitive.

DuVal said “we are enjoying a terrific sales tax environment” and are having a “record year.”

He said TRIF will hit about $120 million in additional research dollars this year.

Using TRIF funds, universities are conducting researching on a variety of subjects in the health field, including ASU’s developing the cotton-swab test for COVID-19, and UA’s waste-treatment test to “help determine from what building a COVID outbreak would occur.”

TRIF also enabled over 800,000 COVID tests by universities.

As for renewable energy sources, TRIF is funding a study by ASU on Algae as a renewable source of energy.

“Keep a long-term eye on algae as a potential new bio-fuel,” DuVal said.

He also said cyber-security space is taking off in anticipation for the conflict between Russia and the United States.

TRIF also looks at where in the workforce more resources are needed, for example teachers are currently needed in the workforce.

One way TRIF measures the value of its investments is through ROI. For example, for every dollar of Arizona’s investment, we are getting “10, 20, 30 dollars from the federal government or 3rd party foundations.” They also track economic impact through tracking patents, spinoffs and capital flow. Finally, for workforce, tweaking models and keeping track of what is needed.

 

Fred DuVal, Arizona Board of Regents Member

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