Research at Penn State has supported more than 2,500 jobs and generated nearly $200 million in economic impact since 2015, according to a report released in April by The Science Coalition. The report, titled “Sparking Economic Growth,” highlights 53 companies from coalition member institutions that trace their roots to federally funded university research.
The companies span industry, geography and funding sources, showing close ties between federal investment in fundamental research, job creation and an innovation-based economy.
“Federally funded university research is a key catalyst in innovation and provides the opportunity for researchers to develop their discoveries into robust companies that create jobs and help our local economies flourish,” said Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research. “We are proud that Penn State Research has supported thousands of jobs and created millions of dollars in economic impact across Pennsylvania, which exemplifies the outstanding benefits that federal investment has on fundamental research and, in return, our economies.”
One of the companies highlighted in the report is ConidioTec LLC, a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences spinoff company that received federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The company supports 73 jobs throughout the supply chain and generates nearly $2 million in economic impact while having only six employees. ConidioTec developed a formulation for indoor pest control focused on eliminating and preventing bed bugs. The product, called Aprehend, has an environmentally safe active ingredient that remains effective against bed bugs for 90 days, and is the first of its kind.
ConidioTec Founder and CTO Nina Jenkins, left, accepts a check for $10,000 as the People’s Choice Award Winner at the 2018 Tech Tournament during the Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference.
“This report demonstrates the significant, positive impact that federally funded university research and spinoff companies have on our economy,” said John Latini, Penn State director of federal relations and president of The Science Coalition. “Thanks to the strong partnership between our federal research agencies and Penn State, companies are developing life-changing innovations, creating jobs, and reinvesting in their communities. Their work is a strong reminder why Congress should provide robust increases in federal research appropriations every year.”
The “Sparking Economic Growth” report also found that fundamental research conducted at Science Coalition universities helped create companies that supported nearly 100,000 jobs, allowing them to contribute more than $1.3 billion toward the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) between 2015 and 2019 across all 50 states, despite being based in only 12 states. In 2018, the federal government’s $131 billion investment in research and development (R&D) resulted in 445,800 direct American jobs. Compensation for the average direct job funded by federal R&D was $114,000, a salary 83% higher than average compensation in the overall economy.
Federal research funds support 560,000 workers at universities and colleges. In addition, federal investment has led to one-third of U.S. patents, and half of the country’s economic growth is owed to scientific technology and innovation.