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U of U Research Dollars Have Double Impact on Utah’s Economy

Jan. 12, 2010 – The University of Utah pumps millions of dollars, thousands of jobs into the Utah economy, a recent study of research spending has found.

According to the report, every dollar spent by the university creates an additional 95 cents in gross state product (GSP), the measure of a state’s overall economic output over a one-year period. Every two jobs supported by research creates three new jobs in other industry sectors.

“Research conducted at the University of Utah not only advances science, technology and medicine, but also has positive economic effects that are felt broadly outside of academia,” noted Jan Crispin, the study’s author and senior research economist at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) at the U’s David Eccles School of Business.

In “The Economic Impact of Sponsored Research at the University of Utah,” Crispin used data from the University of Utah Financial and Business Services to estimate the economic role of research spending on jobs, earnings, gross state product and tax revenue.

Crispin estimated that every one million spent on sponsored research at the university supports 20 jobs in Utah, generates approximately $849,450 in earnings for Utah workers, contributes $1.4 million in GSP and provides $86,135 in state and local tax revenue.

Sponsored research means research funded by external organizations through a grant or contract for a specific project.

“In fiscal year 2009, the university collected a record $354.7 million in research funding,” said Tom Parks, the university’s vice president for research. “This new study makes it easy to translate the power of that funding, not only for students and research outcomes on campus, but also on the economy of the entire state.”

The study calculated the economic impact to Utah from University of Utah research spending in fiscal year 2008 totaled $525.3 million in gross state product, which is about 160 million more than the university spent on research that year. Research dollars supported 2,920 jobs at the U and 4,380 jobs not directly connected to campus. The total employment impact was 7,300 full-time and part-time jobs with wages totaling $310 million. The resulting tax revenue was $31.4 million.

“This is new money flowing into the state from sources such as the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. These are important dollars for Utah,” Crispin said.

In summarizing the study’s results Crispin noted, “Based on this analysis, it is apparent that the University of Utah is an engine of economic growth, pumping millions of dollars into the state’s economy each year.”

The study is available on the BEBR website at