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New Report: USF’s Innovation Enterprise Infuses $582 Million Yearly into Florida’s Economy

The economic impact of the University of South Florida’s innovation efforts have grown at a rapid pace, increasing by more than 45% over the last three years to $582 million annually, according to a new analysis by the Washington Economics Group.

The Miami-based consulting firm reports the upward trajectory of the USF innovation enterprise continues to support and strengthen the economic development strategy of the Tampa Bay region and Florida’s growing economy. While the new analysis focuses solely on innovation, the USF System’s overall annual economic impact is measured at $4.4 billion. 

The Washington Economics Group analyzed the productivity of the USF Research Park; the university’s Technology Transfer Office, which manages new inventions from USF faculty and students; and USF’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, which is overseen by the USF Office of Corporate Partnerships.

An infographic depicting USF's innovation efforts and their impact on the economy

Among the report’s key takeaways:

  • USF’s innovation enterprise sustains more than 4,000 public and private sector jobs (an increase of 35% from 2016), and returns more than $71 million in tax revenue to local, state and federal coffers (an increase of 37% since 2016).
  • $548 million of the USF innovation enterprise’s annual impact is in the immediate Tampa Bay region, where approximately 1,992 people are directly employed in jobs that have been created in the university’s innovation enterprise. Another 2,068 related jobs are sustained among partner organizations and businesses that provide goods and services to USF innovation operations.    
  • Of the jobs created by USF innovation statewide, 82% are in the knowledge-based services sector, which includes life sciences companies, IT operations, financial services and 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.

USF President Steve Currall said the report provides important insight into the wider value that USF creates as a research institution with a strong culture of innovation.

“One of the most important roles research universities serve is in creating and fostering new ideas that fuel economic development through collaboration and commercialization,” Currall said. “This analysis shows how USF’s innovation enterprise has become a vital catalyst for the larger innovation ecosystem, which is creating unprecedented opportunity for the Tampa Bay region and the state of Florida.”

Paul Sanberg, USF Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation and Knowledge Enterprise, said the report confirms the importance of USF working to optimize its creative technological assets to build wider economic and societal impact. Not only do USF’s commercialization activities increase employment opportunities in high-wage occupations across the region and state, Sanberg said the USF innovation enterprise helps create an environment that attracts new companies and a growing pool of highly-skilled professionals that can sustain a modern economy.

“The double-digit increases in growth that this report details provide strong evidence that our strategy of close collaboration with local, regional and state partners to drive economic development and job growth is producing meaningful results both for USF and the wider community,” Sanberg said.

USF has also ranked among the top 10 of American public research universities in generating new U.S. patents for the past nine years.

The three-year analysis in the report does not include USF’s research contracts and grants or research expenditure dollars.  The full report is available here.

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