More than 5,700 Middle Tennessee jobs result from Vanderbilt R&D

November 12, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Research and development activities at Vanderbilt University are responsible for more than 5,700 jobs in Middle Tennessee, according to a new report based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Those jobs constitute about 43 percent of the more than 13,300 employment opportunities in Tennessee supported by research and development activities at colleges and universities in the state. Nationally, the number of jobs as a result of academic research totaled more than 1.08 million, according to data for 2000, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available.

The federal data, collected by the Association of American Universities, consider grant money received at academic institutions. State employment multipliers maintained by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis are applied to the data to estimate the employment impact to colleges and surrounding areas. The expenditures come from all sources of funding including federal, state and local government, industry and institutional funds.

Vanderbilt’s research expenditures of $171.9 million in the 2000 fiscal year directly and indirectly supported an estimated 5,759 jobs in Middle Tennessee. Total research and expenditures for the state of Tennessee amounted to $398.4 million for a total of 13,348 jobs.

“University research is one of the best investments we make as a country,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee said. “While creating new knowledge, developing cures for diseases, inventing new technologies and improving understanding of the world around us are the primary mission of research, a rewarding offshoot is the creation of thousands of jobs.

“The results of research often take years to have an impact on society,” he said, “but the thousands of jobs that sustain this enterprise have a real and tangible effect on the local economy.”

The AAU noted that a report published by a University of Pennsylvania professor in 1991 concluded that the average annual rate of return to society from academic research was 28 percent. That means that society gets back 28 cents every year from every dollar invested in academic research.

Contact: Elizabeth Latt, 615-322-NEWS,

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