University of Arizona Innovation Generated $1.6 Billion in Economic Output Over 5 Years

May 18, 2022

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The Refinery at the UA Tech Park at The Bridges
Photo credit: Paul Tumarkin/Tech Launch Arizona TLA moved into its new offices at The Refinery at the UA Tech Park at The Bridges on April 18, 2022.

A new report indicates that startups and business generated through Tech Launch Arizona at the University of Arizona supported over 2,500 jobs and $561 million in labor income between FY2017 and FY2021.

Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), the university office that commercializes inventions stemming from UArizona research and innovation, has produced over $1.6 billion in economic activity since 2016, according to the report, released Wednesday.

The report, produced by Rounds Consulting Group and titled "The Economic Impacts of Tech Launch Arizona," outlines the economic impacts generated by TLA for the five-year period from fiscal year 2017 through fiscal year 2021. It also projects impact for the next 10 fiscal years, from fiscal year 2022 through fiscal 2031.

The top findings of the report indicate that between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2021, TLA activities generated:

  • $1.61 billion in economic output
  • $561 million in labor income
  • $59 million in tax revenues

The report also indicates that TLA and its associated business activities supported an estimated 2,600 jobs as of fiscal year 2021. Over the most recent 5 year period, TLA created 800 net-new jobs.

The report projects that from fiscal year 2022 through fiscal year 2031, TLA activites will create an additional 1,000 jobs, bringing the total employment count to 3,500 jobs and generate:

  • $4.7 billion in economic output
  • $1.6 billion in labor income
  • $172 million in tax revenues

Jim Rounds, co-author of the report, indicated that “The impact of the TLA on the local economy has grown and is a significant contributor to the region’s economic well-being. Our review indicates that this growth will continue throughout the remainder of this decade and beyond.”

"With their leadership, the Tech Launch Arizona team has grown its impact each and every year. They've engaged more faculty, staff and students as entrepreneurial inventors than ever before in the history of the University of Arizona, and have worked to patent thousands of inventions on behalf of the university," University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said in a video message about TLA's impact. "They've worked diligently to license them to companies that can take them forward."

UArizona Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation Betsy Cantwell said the university's commitment to innovation and growth in commercialization and impact will continue.

"The innovation ecosystem at the University of Arizona is a robust and integral part of our mission to enrich life for all, allowing us to translate cutting-edge research into market-ready solutions," Cantwell said. "By fostering an entrepreneurial spirit across the university, advancing the creation of startup companies, and licensing University of Arizona inventions to existing companies that can take them forward, we're able to meaningfully benefit people across Arizona and around the world."

The impact calculations stem from the cumulative results of three categories of activity. The first category is the activity generated by startup companies the university has launched to commercialize inventions developed by UArizona faculty, researchers and staff. By the university's definition, a startup is a company founded to commercialize a technology invented by UArizona employees – such as faculty, staff, or graduate students – that has licensed the intellectual property for the invention from the university to take it forward into the marketplace. In just the last 10 years, TLA has launched over 125 startups; 83% are still in business and over 80% are operating in Arizona. These startups create new jobs, generate tax income, and enrich the ecosystem in myriad ways.

The second category represents the impact generated by the more than 450 licenses through which UArizona inventions are being brought to the marketplace by previously existing companies. One example is a trifocal lens developed in the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences that the university licensed to health care company Alcon.

The third category of impact activity stems from the daily work of Tech Launch Arizona staff and operations of the office.

"This news is a fantastic way to kickoff our 10th anniversary celebration, where we're reflecting on what TLA has accomplished since it was founded in late 2012,” said TLA Assistant Vice President Doug Hockstad. "Add to that the projection over the next decade, and it's both humbling and energizing to see the impact we foresee going forward."

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"THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF TECH LAUNCH ARIZONA"


Paul Tumarkin, Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications