Report highlights economic impact of research at Penn State

June 16, 2021

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 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.

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.

IMAGE: Penn State

“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.

More information about companies born from federally funded fundamental research in Pennsylvania is available here.

To view more Penn State affiliated startups, visit StartupNavigator.psu.edu.

About Penn State Research

Penn State Research explores and expands the limits of scholarly and scientific knowledge to advance society’s well-being, educate the next generation of leaders, and contribute to innovations in a broad array of fields. Penn State’s research expenditures total $1.01 billion, and its research enterprise is tied for first nationally in breadth and depth of expertise with 16 different top 10-ranked research fields in expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) rankings. Penn State researchers have access to a broad network of industrial, educational, governmental, and agricultural partners to ensure their work reaches maximum global impact. The Invent Penn State initiative enables researchers to effectively navigate the challenging process of turning their discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind. For more information, visit https://www.psu.edu/research.

About The Science Coalition

Established in 1994, The Science Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of more than 50 of the nation’s leading public and private research universities. It is dedicated to sustaining the federal government’s investment in basic scientific research as a means to stimulate the economy, spur innovation, and drive America’s global competitiveness.

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Last Updated June 28, 2021