This time of year is always exciting for the University of Arizona community. With the start of classes less than a week away, the UA will once again be a bustling place as thousands of Wildcats join us to begin or continue their college experience.
Just in time for the start of the academic year, the Princeton Review has named the UA one of the best higher education institutions in the nation for undergraduate education, noting our exceptional undergraduate entrepreneurial programs and health services. In another recent ranking, our clinical partner hospitals, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix and Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, were named to U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals list. The two hospitals also were recognized nationally for specialty services. Their excellence allows UA faculty to pursue cutting-edge clinical research and I am very glad to see them gaining this important recognition.
I also am happy to share news related to another aspect of our land-grant mission: advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship through entrepreneurial partnerships. Last month, a delegation from the UA traveled to Japan to meet with representatives of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), which is part of the Japanese Aeronautical Sciences Institute (JAXA), and the University of Tokyo. The UA and ISAS are leading parallel missions designed to bring back asteroid samples that could hold clues to the formation of the solar system and the origin of life-forming molecules on Earth. By strengthening our collaboration with ISAS and JAXA, the UA has a unique opportunity to share information during and after these missions, taking both farther than they could have gone alone and building opportunities for future work together.
Finally, I was very pleased to take part in the ribbon cutting for the new University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph's hospital in Phoenix last Thursday. This innovative collaboration is poised to offer unparalleled cancer care for central Arizona and the entire state. The UA Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center based in Arizona, and its success in Phoenix will bring better knowledge, better care, and a better quality of life for all Arizonans. Medical staff, who have been recruited from across the nation, will begin seeing patients at the Center on Monday, Aug. 24. For more information on this important new facility and the services it offers, click here.
Tech Launch Arizona met all of its targets in its second full year of operations, with more than 200 invention disclosures, 35 patents, and the formation of 12 startup licensee companies. TLA commercializes inventions emanating from UA research through an innovation ecosystem that integrates research application, partnership and student engagement.
In order to involve the public in conversations about conservation of one of Arizona's most precious resources, the UA's Water Resources Research Center has issued a report that addresses the current water situation, future challenges and options for closing the looming water demand-supply gap. Through outreach efforts, the center is providing Arizonans with what they need to know so they can ask informed questions and look for ways they can make a positive impact.
Since 2002, UA Cooperative Extension agents have worked with more than 500 landowners in Coconino County to thin trees on 2,800 acres. Their efforts are aimed at restoring the forests to how they were in the 1850s. Back then, forests were dominated by large, old trees. Today, forests are packed with tall, slender trees whose crowded treetops allow wildfires to quickly rage out of control.