Growth Industries

The Tucson region is fast becoming one of the nation’s most innovative business centers. Life sciences programs at the University of Arizona are international leaders in scientific research and education. With access to cutting edge research facilities and staff, collaboration between higher education and biotechnology businesses attracts companies from start-ups to multinationals, including most recently, Ventana Medical Systems (a division of Roche group), Sanofi US, and the Critical Path Institute.


Aerospace & Defense

The aerospace and defense sector is a major contributor to the region’s economy. Tucson is ranked as one of the top 5 areas in the U.S. for these industries. The aerospace industry includes defense and space-related manufacturing, research and development, industrial technology, assembly, distribution, and warehousing. It also includes firms that maintain and rehabilitate the nation’s commercial aircraft fleet.

The neighboring State of Sonora is quickly becoming one of Mexico’s biggest and most important aerospace clusters as well, making Tucson the closest major U.S. city to companies manufacturing there.



Tucson’s optics industry is world-renowned and composed of companies ranging from large aerospace corporations to research facilities and entrepreneurial start-ups. Much of Tucson’s optics industry growth stems from the city’s status as a center of world-class astronomy and The University of Arizona’s pre-eminence in the field of optical sciences.

The Optical Sciences Center (OSC) is at the heart of optics-based research and instruction on the University of Arizona campus. OSC is considered a national asset for technical leadership in developing new technologies and application for optics in the fields of data storage, medicine, manufacturing, telecommunications, and military guidance systems.


Renewable Energy

Recognized globally as a location of choice for solar energy activities, Tucson’s emerging solar industry promises a bright future. The region has valuable resources for technology development, manufacturing and solar power generation. While Tucson is already well known for its abundant sunshine, the region is also becoming known for its abundant human capital, state of the art research and development, ample supply chain opportunities and competitive operating costs.