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Companies created
Patents applied for/issued
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Graduate Research Fellows
K-12 Students Impacted
K-12 Teachers Impacted
Direct jobs created


SFAz as a public-private partnership created to help strengthen and diversify Arizona’s economy. We function as a catalyst connecting Arizona researchers and Arizona businesses, to stimulate and commercialize research, advance STEM education and turn big ideas into big opportunities.

We are a lean, agile organization with a proven track record of generating wealth, businesses and jobs for Arizonans. We are funded by corporate and individual philanthropic donations and all donations are used exclusively for investing in Arizona’s future.

For every dollar in state funding that SFAz has received, we’ve brought in an additional $4.40 from industry and out-of-state sources.  According to the independent Battelle Institute, these leveraged funds are just the beginning of an economic multiplier effect that “results in new wealth for Arizona.”

High-Impact Commercial Potential

“SFAz starts with return on investment. It’s not just a research organization. It looks at return first.” – Bill Post, Retired, CEO, APS

We choose our investments to leverage Arizona’s natural competitive advantages and grow our economy. We are a lean and effective catalyst – bringing together Arizona businesses and Arizona researchers to generate research that results in tangible economic benefits for Arizonans.

By incentivizing researchers to do work with high-impact commercial potential, SFAz grants have been directly responsible for

  • 24 new companies created
  • 207 patents applied for and/or issued
  • 23 technology licenses granted empowering entrepreneurs to build upon public research
“I can safely say that none of us would be here without the combined vision of Frank Mars, one of our founders, and Bill Harris of Science Foundation Arizona. It was their vision and commitment that set Heliae in motion.” — Dan Simon, president and CEO of Heliae, an algae technology company, speaking at its May 2012 groundbreaking

The Battelle Institute has conservatively estimated that the state of Arizona’s investment in SFAz has already resulted in a massive return, and over time “will have even greater economic impacts through the private sector jobs created.”

  • Total economic impact, first 6 years: $597M
  • Direct jobs generated: 1,856

And these are not ordinary jobs. Recent economic data shows that in a down economy the technology sector is a critical economic engine. Recent wage data shows a state-wide average wage of $42k, but in the technology sector the average wage is $83k.

While the statewide job market was down 3.2% in 2008, technology jobs were up, with software jobs growing 4.5% and biosciences growing 4.3%.

To compete in the 21st global innovation economy Arizona will need to stay on the leading edge of technology, create and attract new companies, and build a high quality workforce.


To secure Arizona’s competitiveness in the global innovation economy, SFAz invests heavily in education.

Our Graduate Research Fellowships attract world-class talent to Arizona institutions with the potential, according to the Battelle Institute, to “transform Arizona’s economy, turn competent graduate programs into world-competitive programs and develop a workforce pipeline that meets the needs of Arizona’s technology-related employers.”

Our STEM Education initiative engages Arizona youth in science, technology, engineering and math.   87% of students in SFAz-sponsored Discovery programs report increased likelihood of pursuing more STEM education.

“Skilled employees are the most important ingredient to Fort Huachuca’s strategic operations. [SFAz’s program] will allow us to tap into a talent base much earlier … creating a win-win for everyone.” — Melissa A. Sturgeon, 
Colonel, US Army and Commander, 
US Army Garrison

58.4% of the students impacted by SFAz’s STEM programs are low income and 30.9% are rural. The Battelle Institute concludes that we are especially effective at reaching diverse student groups who are most often left behind in STEM education.”

SFAz education grants are directly responsible for

  • 297 graduate fellows doing world-class research in Arizona
  • 469 student researchers employed at Arizona educational institutions
  • 1,865 total research jobs
  • 385,000 K-12 students involved with STEM programs
  • 10,656 K-12 Teachers participating in a broad range of STEM programs
SFAz: Building the Future Read our new full-color field journal that tells the story of SFAz’s achievements as well as our plans for the future. You can read the story, Building the Future, by clicking on the download button. Download Journal

Look to the Future

As a public-private partnership, SFAz is uniquely positioned to bring together Arizona business and Arizona research to create new economic opportunities for the state.

Since our creation in 2006, with an investment of $50M by the taxpayers of  Arizona, 200 of the state’s top businesses have invested in SFAz.

Our private sector partners–ranging from big companies like Raytheon, Ventana, and Freeport-McMoRan to agile, 21st-century startups like renewable energy developer Heliae and medical-device manufacturer Medipacs–have bet their futures on the strength of our business plan for Arizona.

In four years, we have brought significant, measurable benefits to the people and economy of Arizona.

SFAz is vital to our future. The purpose-driven research it’s funding has the power to drive our economy, generate job opportunities, and change how we live our lives. Jennifer Russo, CEO, Resolution Copper
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