Measuring the Economic Impact of University-Based Research
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University research has propelled the United States into world-class leadership, but continuing that momentum in the 21st century requires major funding. Both the public and private sector have risen to meet that financial challenge through increased support of university-based research.
Since 1995, New York Governor George E. Pataki and the New York Legislature have fostered the growth of high technology and biotechnology industries by investing more than $1 billion in superlative research laboratories and academic centers. However, with this increased outlay comes the demand for greater accountability.
Both public and private stakeholders expect applied research to have economic impact through a unique combination of good science plus good business producing wealth and opportunity for all citizens. However, measuring the economic impact of university research proves difficult.
This paper suggests a possible method for a public funding agency to quantify and tabulate research outputs such that economic impacts are reported as a percent return on investment or ROI. With this model, multiple stakeholders can evaluate divergent research technologies using a measurement that is familiar to scientists, business leaders, elected officials, and the public.
KeywordsEconomic Impact Public Funding Research Output Funding Agency Multiple Stakeholder
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