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Report highlights benefits of science to economy

Research that benefits creation of new jobs and companies targeted for budget cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As Congress determines the funding levels for the federal science agencies for fiscal years 2017 and 2018, a new report highlights one of the many ways investments in basic scientific research benefits the overall economy: the formation of new companies.

American-Made Innovation Sparking Economic Growth” was released this week by The Science Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose membership includes leading U.S. public and private research universities, including Northwestern University.

The report identifies 102 companies that exist because academic researchers had access to competitively awarded grants. These grants come from the very agencies under consideration to receive cuts in budget proposals coming out of the White House.

These agencies include the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The total public investment in the foundational research behind the companies was just over $265 million spread over several decades. The companies employ 8,900 workers in communities across the country. They are paying taxes, purchasing materials, equipment and services and otherwise contributing to their local economies. The companies are doing all of this while bringing to market the type of transformational innovations that keep the United States globally competitive and the world’s leader in science and technology.

An online database accompanying the report provides profiles for each company and is sortable by state, university, funding agency and type of innovation.

“Each one of these companies is an American innovation success story and illustrates the powerful ripple effect that the partnership between the federal government and our nation’s research institutions has on society and our economy,” said Glynda Becker, president of The Science Coalition.

“If Washington, D.C., is serious about creating good jobs, producing American goods and keeping the U.S. ahead of our international competitors, then, as this report shows, continued strong and steady funding for basic scientific research is a wise investment,” she said.

The full report is available online.

Topics: Research
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