ASU Research Park celebrates 30 years of university-industry collaboration

April 24, 2014

The ASU Research Park marked its 30th anniversary on Monday, April 21, with a celebratory event at the park. Located at Elliot Road and the Loop 101 in Tempe, the 320-acre park, founded in 1984, includes 20 buildings that span 1.8 million square feet. More than 4,000 employees work at 49 companies in the park today.

Distinguished guests who made remarks during the April 21 event included: group portrait at ASU Research Park Download Full Image

• City of Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell

• Current ASU Research Park Board President and ASU Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, Morgan R. Olsen

• Former ASU Research Park Board Presidents Chuck Backus and Rudy Campbell

• ASU President Michael Crow

“Don’t let anyone ever convince you that you cannot advance an idea without all of the component parts,” Crow said. “Thirty years later, our research enterprise at ASU is 45 times the size it was in 1984.”

Today’s research park looks much different than it did in 1956 when the Arizona State College Foundation obtained the 320 acres of farmland for experimental farm use.

Plans began to find a new use for the farm when ASU disbanded its agricultural programs in 1979. It was not until 1983, following collaboration with several governmental agencies, that a nonprofit research park corporation was formed with authorization from the Arizona Board of Regents.

The park’s groundbreaking was held at the end of 1984, and the spring of 1985 brought the move-in of Transamerica – the park’s first tenant.

Industry and student collaborations

Global satellite and digital communications company ViaSat will soon be a Research Park resident.

Board President Morgan Olsen remarked during the celebration that ViaSat’s phase one plans for the park include a 116,000-gross-square-foot facility. ViaSat expects 200 employees to work at the park when its new building opens in 2015, with a commitment to grow to more than 400, he said.

“The company’s plan to create one of its engineering centers of excellence at the ASU Research Park not only will be a boost to the Valley economy, but also enables it to tap into the university’s wealth of knowledge resources,” Olsen said. “ViaSat can offer unique educational opportunities to our students that may benefit them now and after graduation, and collaboration with our scientists and engineers will benefit ViaSat’s work in the field of global digital communications.”

Additional ASU business partners that reside at the park include Avnet, The Institute for Supply Management, ASU MacroTechnology Works, Amkor Technology, and GoDaddy – to name a few.

GoDaddy announced it would locate its Global Technology Center at the park in May 2013. The 150,000-square-foot facility is slated to open this fall. The company will start with 300 employees in the park, and is expected to eventually grow to 1,300.

GoDaddy’s decision to locate at the park was a standout for Joanne Wamsley, ASU vice president of finance and deputy treasurer. She has also served as the ASU Research Park Board secretary/treasurer since 2010.

“The Global Technology Center will be a fantastic addition to the park,” Wamsley said. “It’s been exciting to see the maturation of the park and the southeast Valley over the past 30 years. The Research Park stands apart from other types of office parks because it provides our industry partners the opportunity to collaborate with ASU faculty and students.”

A current example of advancing research between industry and the ASU community is the park’s ASU MacroTechnology Works. Motorola built the facility, spanning more than 261,000 gross square feet, in 1997 for the semiconductor industry.

MacroTechnology Works currently provides a collaborative space for students, faculty and staff from a variety of disciplines who study and work in engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, physics and ASU’s Solar Power Lab. The building also houses the Flexible Display Center, which produced the world’s largest flexible X-ray detector prototype, and works in the burgeoning field of wearable computing devices.

Future opportunities

Park space is now available for future tenants and research collaborators. There are currently 350,000 square feet of buildings planned or under construction at the park. Twenty-six acres are available for ground lease in three parcels.

The ASU Research Park is managed by Sunbelt Holdings, which has provided management services to the park continually since 1992.

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group


At the top of CLAS: College launches Graduate Excellence Awards

April 24, 2014

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has launched a new initiative designed to reward outstanding doctoral and masters students recognized nationally or internationally during academic year 2013-2014.

“Students who strive to establish themselves as leaders in their field, compete for fellowships, grants, travel awards and scholarships,” says Kenro Kusumi, associate dean of graduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “This award is just one small way that we can honor the top 5 percent of our college’s students for their initiative, hard work and achievements.” ASU students working in lab Download Full Image

More than 120 graduate students will receive graduate excellence inaugural awards. A reception for the awardees and the college’s deans, chairs and directors will be held from 1-3 p.m., May 7, in the Memorial Union’s Alumni Lounge on the Tempe campus.

Among the students receiving awards from the School of Earth and Space Exploration are Gayatri Indah Marliyani, Mingming Li (geological sciences) and Marc Neveu (astrophysics), who came to ASU from hometowns in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Jiangzi Province, China; and Dreux, France, respectively.

“Indonesia experiences a variety of geologically-related hazards, including earthquakes and tsunamis, so my research focuses on the active faults and earthquake hazards,” says Marliyani. “My results can contribute to the development of seismic hazard analysis in Java, and may be useful in understanding similar systems in other parts of the world.” Marliyani competed for and received awards from the Schlumberger Foundation, the Seismological Society of America and the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education to support her field work and laboratory expenses.

More than 60 graduate excellence awards will be received by students in the School of Life Sciences and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Among them are graduate students Ashleigh Gonzales, Jorge Ramos and John Rowan.

Gonzales is pursuing a master’s degree in biology and society. Her goal is to forge new approaches to education and technologies for visually impaired students seeking research careers in the sciences. She was awarded a Reach for the Stars Fellowship, Alma and Ruth Wilson Scholarship, Donald and Dorothy Colee Scholarship and a travel grant from the Society for Neuroscience.

Ramos is pursuing a doctorate in environmental life sciences. He recently traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico, as part of a study of ecological diversity that included the making of a documentary about Cuatro Cienegas hot springs. In addition to his other successes, Ramos serves as the chair of the student section of the Ecological Society of America and is an active member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Sciences.

Rowan is a doctoral student in evolutionary anthropology, hoping to generate greater understanding about human evolution and mammalian paleontology. His studies take him to the fossil-rich sediments in Hadar, Ethiopia, to the Turkana Basin in Kenya.

In addition to these exceptional awardees are graduate students with the Department of Psychology, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Department of English, School of Politics and Global Studies and the Consortium for Science Policy Outcomes. Applications for excellence awards will be received through May 18.

“Opportunities such as this draw attention to the critical role graduate students play in forwarding the university’s mission of becoming global leaders of discovery and innovation,” says award-winner Megan Fisk. Fisk is a doctoral candidate in Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, whose studies offer insight into more effective suicide prevention in the military.

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost