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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA requests $659M

    The Arizona Board of Regents passed the UA’s state operating budget request of $659 million yesterday, including a $9.8 million request to fund a Solar Energy Center of Excellence that would promote the production of bio-based alternative forms of energy.

    If funding is approved by the State legislature, the center could also spawn a sister center, the Sustainable Building Technologies Center, which would design and construct prototypes of environment-friendly buildings.

    Both centers would be housed on campus, although the area may be more virtual, bringing together as many professionals in the field as possible, said UA President Robert Shelton.

    “”We’d like to create the center immediately,”” Shelton said of a possible timeframe for the development of the centers. “”The program also includes funding for certain student programs that will help bring Arizona’s solar and biowaste energy industries a better trained workforce.””

    Shelton said by far the largest and most important request on the budget is one for $13.6 million that will address faculty salary adjustments.

    “”This is a modest investment that will bring huge returns,”” Shelton said.

    To promote retention, this money will be distributed on a merit-based scale, he said.

    Also on the UA’s budget request was a nearly $10 million request that will help the UA continue its innovation in cancer research and promote early-stage diagnosis in Arizona’s rural counties.

    “”The Arizona Cancer Center is one of the finest in the country, but they have a shortfall in acquiring the latest in diagnostics,”” Shelton said.

    The money would help the Cancer Center couple imaging detection and cancer diagnosis with drugs that specifically target a patient’s cancer, Shelton said.

    “”Every year, cancer kills 10,000 people in state of Arizona,”” he said. “”We believe we can promote and provide state citizens with access to novel, more impressive ways to treat this terrible disease.””

    Funding for a $3.7 million program designed to develop more qualified teachers in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics was requested, as well.

    “”If this works, our College of Science and our College of Education could work together to bring in core disciplines,”” Shelton said. “”We are asking for permanent funding on all of these, but the progress could change over time.””

    For example, Shelton said, an increase of math teachers in Arizona would shift the program’s focus toward helping similarly increase the number of teachers who specialize in the sciences.

    The program could potentially prepare UA students for careers in teaching math or sciences, Shelton said.

    “”Our initiative will expand access to the teaching profession, develop a rigorous online curriculum, provide support to reduce teacher attrition and provide a pipeline to graduate student development,”” he said.

    The budget will next be evaluated by the governor in January, and then, in June, the state Legislature, which will approve, deny or create a compromise for funding.

    Other requests include $4.5 million for student development in the fields of defense, commerce and teacher training, as well as $4.6 million to promote nano-manufacturing, including the development of hybrid devices that combine biological materials with inorganic materials.

    The UA also requested $3.5 million in strategic investments for the Arizona Climate Initiative, which would foster better understanding of climate change and mitigation, Shelton said.

    A request of $3.7 million was made for Arizona Astronomy, which would help keep Arizona at the forefront of international research in astronomy and could provide funding for educational and outreach programs at the Mt. Lemmon Science Center, according to the agenda.

    The UA also asked for $1.5 million each for the expansions of the College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy within the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, and $26 million in continuing funds.

    Since this year’s funding seems to be tight on a statewide scale, Shelton said the state budget request will probably have to be amended based on how much money the state can provide.

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