UA Center for Innovation Celebrates 20 Years of Impacting Arizona's Entrepreneur Ecosystems

Twenty years ago, Tech Parks Arizona took a bold step building an incubator to support startups in Southern Arizona, establishing the University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI). Tech Parks Arizona utilized its network and facilities to provide an effective support mechanism for new entrepreneurial activities that would advance technology innovation.

Since it’s humble beginnings in 2003, UACI has directly served over 225 science and technology-based startups and directly impacted thousands of entrepreneurs. With the mission to grow scalable science and technology startup ventures that fuel the Arizona economy, the University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) has become a leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and has long served the region’s strong and vibrant community of innovators.

This year, we celebrate the 20-year anniversary of UACI. The celebration not only commemorates the past success, but especially focuses on the future. As we commemorate this significant milestone, we are elevating and expanding how UACI assists entrepreneurs in taking their companies from idea to market.

Stay tuned for a year full of events, special announcements and showcasing innovation!


Metfora Earns $255,000 in SBIR Funding

Metfora, a company stemming from research initiated at the University of Arizona, is developing a blood test that dramatically shortens the time to diagnosis for a range of chronic diseases. The company recently received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for $255,706. Metfora will utilize the award to generate broader impact and commercial potential of this project - a novel metabolite diagnostic blood test indicative of early-stage diseases including cancer, chronic heart and lung disorders, and diabetes. Metfora is benefiting from the University of Arizona innovation ecosystem working with UA Center for Innovation, Tech Launch Arizona, and Arizona FORGE. 


Reglagene Guest Spot on Tucson Metro Podcast

Reglagene President & CEO Dr. Richard Austin joined the Tucson Metro Chamber podcast titled "The Business of" to explain how the company is developing revolutionary therapy for brain cancer based on research stemming from the University of Arizona that has proven a way to break through the blood-brain barrier. Reglagene is a biotech company firm that fights cancer by leveraging Quadruplex Master Switch Technology to create new medicines that regulate gene expression. Reglagene licensed the technology through Tech Launch Arizona and is part of the growing list of UACI startups.


International Economic Development Tour & Showcase

The International Economic Development Council hosted the Leadership Summit to Tucson, AZ. As part of the conference, Tech Parks Arizona hosted the Driving Innovation Forward Selfie Tour, bringing global economic development professionals to the UA Tech Park to mingle with innovators and business leaders. Here they were greeted with a showcase of some UACI startups and UA Tech Park tenants. UACI is proud of the role we play in advancing economic development in the Southern Arizona Region, but also the business development we assist startups in achieving.


Sponsored Launch Deadline Extended

The Sponsored Launch fueled by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of the City of Sierra Vista deadline has been extended to February 15, 2023. This collaboration between UACI and Sierra Vista IDA will sponsor three deserving startups located in the Cochise County region working to solve a significant business or social challenge. As part of the sponsorship, these startups will also be the first located in the new UACI Sierra Vista outpost. Applications are closing soon, be sure to apply for your chance at a sponsored year in the UACI program.


Startup Spotlight:


INSiGENe works with medical researchers, clinicians, and industry providing expertise in data science and proprietary algorithms to unlock disease and identify novel therapeutic targets from omics data. 

February 3

Commercialization Workshop: Funding Strategy

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is hosting a four part commercialization workshop. This workshop series provides support to SBIR/STTR applicants as they advance technological innovation towards commercialization.

Join us for a session on Funding Strategies. We will touch on topics to consider such the importance of acquiring both dilutive and non- dilutive funding, preparing a pitch, and working towards an exit strategy.

UACI provides support to applicants applying to solar energy and water power technology topics. For more information on applicant support please contact Amanda Buchanan at amanda.buchanan635@gmail.com

February 21

Deploying and Supporting Community-owned Renewable Energy Assets

Join us on Tuesday, February 21 from 10am-11am PST to learn about deploying and supporting community-owned renewable energy assets and how to deploy a community of clean energy experts.

February 23

Southwest Regional Explore Event

Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages DOE national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP awards cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization.

UACI is hosting the Southwest Regional Explore event. Join us on February 23 as competing teams pitch their business concepts to industry judges.

If you have any questions, please contact Casey Carrillo at ccarrillo@uaci.com


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LEARN MORE about our startup opportunities and mentorship programs below.


The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is a key component of Tech Parks Arizona which brings together university, industry and community to advance technology innovation. UACI is the University of Arizona's startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region with a mission to grow scalable startup ventures that fuel the Arizona ecosystem.