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U research boosts state and national economy, small businesses

This story was originally published on @TheU.

By Xoel Cardenas - senior communications specialist, Office of the Vice President for Research

A new report shows that research projects at the University of Utah contributed over $714 million to the national economy through vendor contracts and subcontracts in a seven-year period between 2014 and 2021.

From 2014 to 2021, the report, produced by the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS), identified $341 million in research spending by the University of Utah on specific vendors and subcontractors. Of that amount, $15.91 million was spent on 507 small businesses and $10.12 million was spent on 356 minority- and woman-owned businesses across the country.

Small businesses continue to be a beneficiary of U research support. According to the report, specifically in 2021, the university spent $4.09 million on 166 small businesses; $1.15 million on woman-owned businesses; and $518,000 on minority-owned businesses. A total of 127 woman- or minority-owned businesses sold goods and services to the university to support research.

“Our university has some of the most incredible researchers in the world, and to see that their work not only leads to new breakthroughs and solutions but also leads to economic prosperity for local and national businesses is remarkable,” said Erin Rothwell, interim vice president for research. “It shows how research goes beyond what happens at the university, it reaches and impacts all of us.”

A separate report from IRIS also detailed the impact of U research spending on specific industries. The top industry sectors receiving research spending from the U were educational services, health care and social assistance.

In the educational services industry, 17 businesses that received $1.09 million of research spending from the University of Utah were small businesses, according to the report. Over 50% of businesses were minority-owned businesses, receiving $794,000 of research spending, and six businesses, receiving $179,000, were women-owned businesses.

The manufacturing sector received $21.9 million in research vendor purchases and subcontracts from the University of Utah between 2014 and 2021, making it the fourth-highest-ranked industry sector.

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