Kelly, Stanton, Gallego Announce $15 Million CHIPS Act Funds for ASU to Launch Water and Climate-Focused ‘Regional Innovation Engine’

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly and Representatives Greg Stanton (D-AZ-4) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-3) announced that the Southwest Sustainability Innovation Engine (SSIE), led by Arizona State University, was named one of 10 inaugural National Science Foundation Regional Innovation Engines—bringing an investment of $15 million over the next two years.  

The SSIE will work to address the threat climate change and water scarcity pose to economic and population growth in the Southwest.   

“Arizona is not only on the frontlines of the challenges of climate change, but also the solutions. As a lead negotiator of the CHIPS and Science Act, I secured funding to supercharge innovation through programs like NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines. Thanks to this program, Phoenix will be a hub for critical research initiatives that will boost our economy, tackle climate change, and secure Arizona’s water future,” said Kelly.  

“Our CHIPS and Science Act is turbocharging innovation here in the Valley—not just in advanced manufacturing, but in addressing the existential threat of climate change and drought,” said Stanton. “This historic investment will help ASU researchers and their regional partners advance cutting-edge technologies to improve sustainability and long-term climate resilience.”  

“Thanks to our leadership in passing the historic CHIPS and Science Act, Arizona is set to be a nationwide leader in developing the innovative water solutions our state needs. This investment will bring more jobs to Arizona, grow our economy, and bolster ASU’s position as a leading research institution,” said Gallego.  

“Our rapidly developing global challenges, if unabated, will result in a planetary emergency. They require immediate action, and the NSF Regional Innovation Engines award offers a new, transformative avenue to apply our holistic sustainability innovation approach to the southwestern United States to keep this region on a path of economic growth,” said Peter Schlosser, vice president and vice provost of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU and principal investigator of this project. “The Southwest Sustainability Innovation Engine combines the extensive expertise of ASU and all our partners to simultaneously ensure a sustainable future and prosperity for our region.”  

Kelly, Stanton, and Gallego led members of the Arizona delegation in a letter of support for ASU’s application last year. 

The SSIE will work to establish the Southwest as a leader in carbon capture, water security, and renewable energy and bring new economic activity and high-wage industries to the region. The Engine unites academic, community, nonprofit, and industry partners across Arizona, Nevada, and Utah that are committed to this goal.  

The NSF Engines awards were created and funded under the CHIPS and Science Act. NSF’s initial $150 million investment in these 10 regions is being matched nearly two to one in commitments from state and local governments, other federal agencies, philanthropy, and private industry—including the University of Utah, the Desert Research Institute, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Maricopa Community Colleges, the SciTech Institute, the Water Research Foundation, and industry partners across Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.