USF Research News

New Report: USF’s Innovation Enterprise Infuses $400 Million Yearly into Florida’s Economy

November 16, 2016

The USF System’s innovation and economic development efforts generate more than $400 million in statewide impact each year

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida System’s innovation and economic development efforts generate more than $400 million in statewide impact each year, sustain more than 3,000 jobs and return more than $52 million in tax revenue to local, state and federal coffers, according to a new analysis from a leading national firm.

WEG infographic

The report by the Washington Economics Group (WEG) – which comes on the heels of USF earning designation by the Florida Board of Governors as an Emerging Preeminent Research University – is the first in-depth analysis to provide greater insight on the specific impact and return on investment for the university’s innovation efforts.

“USF commercialization strategy has a significant impact on Florida’s economy and has emerged as a force for the state’s increasingly competitive position in the global economy,” said Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, which, with USF, co-commissioned the WEG study. “USF’s strategic focus on research, commercialization and technology transfer efforts creates and sustains high-wage jobs while serving as a magnet to relocating companies drawn to Florida.”

The National Science Foundation ranks USF 25th in the nation among public universities in research expenditures, a key indicator of overall research activity. USF has ranked in the top 10 of American public research universities in generating new U.S. patents for the past six years. The report, though, examined specific elements of the USF System’s efforts to promote economic development and commercialize research discoveries and newly-patented technologies. It outlines the impact of these efforts – which the report calls the USF Innovation Enterprise – composed of three areas:

  1. The USF Research Park, which provides an important, centrally located, community environment for companies and organizations interested in partnering with USF.
  2. The Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI), which supports both university spinout companies, student-founded startups and new community companies through their early stage of commercialization utilizing state-of-the-art facilities, scientific equipment, and programming. TBTI is currently home to more than 60 resident and affiliate companies, with 58 percent of these companies directly emerging from the TTO as spinout companies.
  3. The Technology Transfer Office (TTO), which facilitates the commercialization of intellectual property, including patents and copyrights, directly stemming from USF System research.

Some $395 million of the USF Innovation Enterprise’s annual impact is found in the immediate Tampa Bay Region, the analysts found, where approximately 1,550 people are directly employed in the USF Innovation Enterprise. Another 1,467 related jobs are sustained among partner organizations and businesses that provide goods and services to USF innovation operations. In all, the effort produces some $149 million in household income.

The economic impact of the USF Innovation Enterprise, however, ripples across the state of Florida, where it grows to $400 million annually.

Some 80 percent of the jobs created by USF innovation statewide are in the Knowledge-Based Services Sector. Major industries under this category are: Life Sciences, IT, Finance Services, Professional and Administrative Services. Knowledge-Based Services also have a significant spillover effect on tourism, services, real estate, transportation and other key sectors in Florida’s economy, the report noted.

“The USF System is one of Florida’s leading innovation and entrepreneurial centers and this report underscores the important return on investment university innovation provides for the people of the Tampa Bay Region and Florida,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft.

“Graduating talented students ready to be competitive in a global marketplace is only half the equation when it comes to advancing our economy. We are strategically investing in our high-tech, knowledge economy sectors to create the jobs of the future and retain that talent for the benefit of all Floridians.”

The report also confirms the importance of the relationship between USF’s Innovation Enterprise and the intangible benefits that have wider societal benefits. Not only do USF’s commercialization activities increase employment opportunities in high-wage occupations across the Tampa Bay Region and Florida, but USF’s Innovation Enterprise provides a business environment that attracts new companies to create clusters of innovation and a growing pool of highly-skilled professionals that can sustain a modern economy, the report said.

“As we work with our state and community partners to drive development and job growth in the Tampa Bay Region and Florida, our touchstones remain research, scholarship, discovery, and a focus on driving innovation from the lab to the market,” said Paul Sanberg USF’s senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development. “You can see the power of that focus when you consider the potential future value of USF’s pipeline of 65 products on the market and 12 in clinical trials – value that would be in addition to the economic impact detailed in the report.”

“The economic impact we contribute ensures that high-tech jobs will continue to form the future backbone of the local and regional community, and create a foundation for even greater future success,” said Sanberg.

The full report by the Washington Economics Group, entitled “The Comprehensive Economic Development Impacts of USF’s Innovation Enterprise on the Tampa MSA and the State of Florida” is available here.

About University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

About Washington Economics Group, Inc.
Founded in 1993 in the City of Coral Gables, The Washington Economics Group is a boutique economic consulting firm specializing in comprehensive economic solutions for businesses. WEG engages a limited number of clients each year in order to ensure the best client experience within premier areas of specialization, and possesses expertise in the economies of Florida, the U.S., and Latin America as well as the global economy and emerging markets.

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Media Contact: Vickie Chachere, vchachere@usf.edu, (813) 974-3370