Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

University of Arizona taps industry for R&D

Powering cars with gopher plant . . . inventing robot hands that ''feel'' . . . using buffalo gourd, a prairie plant, to make plastics biodegradable.

These are a few of the projects being worked on by researchers at the University of Arizona at Tucson. At a time when many schools across the country are pinched for funding as a result of government cutbacks, the university here is taking in record levels of research money - much of it from private sources.

About these ads

Corporate largess in particular is helping cement this Sunbelt school's position as an institution respected for its excellence in research, one hallmark of a great university.

Pulling in $61.3 million in fiscal 1980-81, the university ranked a modest 26 th among all schools in research funding. But it placed sixth among institutions and third among public schools in support from industry, some $7.7 million.

One reason for the corporate backing is the 97-year-old school's strength in areas such as anthropology, optical sciences, astronomy, arid-land studies, and electrical engineering. The level of research is likely to grow even more in the future. The university's Environmental Research Laboratory, for instance, is now working on roughly $4 million in research projects.

The university also plans to beef up the work it's doing in high-technology areas. This coincides with Tucson's rise as an electronics center.

''The private-support money in high-tech areas is indispensable,'' says A. Richard Kassander Jr., university vice-president for research. ''The support tends to migrate toward those areas that are at the state-of-the-art in their research.''

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.