Overseen by the University of Arizona (UA), Tech Parks Arizona is a well-developed ecosystem that gathers researchers, entrepreneurs and businesses to develop new technologies, assist in the growth of technology companies and contribute to the regional economy.

“Within Tech Parks Arizona, we have the UA Tech Park at Rita Road. We also have the UA Center for Innovation, which is Arizona’s longest continuously operating incubator,” said Associate Vice President Carol Stewart, who has more than 20 years of experience running tech parks.

“The UA Tech Park at The Bridges is our newest development and it will have spaces for education and commercial use. Our top priority is recruiting companies with connections to UA to locate here,” Stewart said.

To attract new companies to Tech Parks Arizona, Stewart and her team are tapping into UA’s wide network.

“We have 10 micro campuses around the world, as well as Japanese programs at UA” she said.

“We want to make global companies successful. That is why we run a customized soft-landing program for international companies called Global Advantage. We invite Japanese companies to explore U.S. market opportunities using Tucson, Arizona as an entry point. The respect Japanese companies have for their business partners is very similar to what exists in the research park and university, so the alignment works well,” she said.

Japan and Arizona’s connections in space are also taking shape.

In a mission led by UA, NASA launched in 2016 an unmanned spacecraft on a seven-year mission to gather samples from Bennu, an asteroid that may collide with the Earth in the future. The OSIRIS-Rex mission is headed by Dante Lauretta, a professor at UA whose three major degrees include one in Japanese, which he believes proved valuable when he worked with colleagues in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.