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Collaboration is key to success for aerospace in state

February 17, 2011

Nearly 300 professionals from the aerospace and defense industry and from universities throughout the state came together to launch the Aerospace and Defense Research Collaboratory (ADRC), Feb. 11, at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus.

The ASU-led ADRC, funded under the Aerospace & Defense Initiative from Science Foundation Arizona, is a state-wide initiative to build broad partnerships between higher education and industry.

In addition to facilitating collaborative research projects involving universities and companies to advance aerospace and defense related technologies, the ADRC is an endeavor that is intended to help create and retain jobs and make Arizona the location of choice for companies seeking greater access to technologies in the aerospace and defense sector.

“The Collaboratory allows us to come together collaboratively to align our missions and leverage all of our expertise and provide coordination to what has been a loose and disconnected network of assets from around the state so that we can all advance,” said Mitzi Montoya, ADRC co-director and executive dean in ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation.

Werner Dahm addressed the changing security threats being faced by the nation and the need to create technology-enabled solutions to address these, as well as to quicken the innovation cycle from research through development to fielding.

“Launching the ADRC is the first step, but an important and substantive one, in building the research base in Arizona to address security,” said Dahm, director of ASU’s new Security and Defense Systems Initiative and former chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force. “Science and technology investment is needed, and this is an opportunity to align ourselves strategically to secure the scarce funding.”

Two separate panel discussions, led by co-directors Montoya and Dahm, focused on the ability for the A&D industry to jumpstart the state’s economy and the role government has in fostering high tech industry growth. The panel discussions included comments from aerospace and defense leaders from around the state.

Some of the key takeaways from the panel discussions were:

• The ADRC is seen as playing a role in advocacy for the industry in the state and having the ability to facilitate collaborations between industry and academia in use-directed research efforts.

• The ADRC will help identify the future direction for where the state needs to be in terms of enabling technology solutions, training and education of future generations, and developing opportunities and new areas of business.

• Government at the state and local levels plays an important role in creating a business climate that supports growth of aerospace and defense industry.

The next meeting of the ADRC will be on March 25 in Tucson where the group will hold strategy sessions, and identify strengths, funding opportunities and ways to match expertise.

To see projects that are currently under way by some of the partners, visit

For information, contact the ADRC at  or visit