UAHuntsville’s total economic impact estimated at nearly $700 million annually

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The economic impact of The University of Alabama in Huntsville is nearly $700 million annually, according to a recent study by a national consulting company.

The Economic Impact of the University of Alabama in Huntsville : Current Economic, Employment, and Governmental Revenue Impacts, Tripp-Umbach

UAHuntsville had an economic impact of $684.4 million for 2009-2010 and that impact led to the creation of an estimated 7,773 jobs statewide, according to Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized Pittsburgh consulting firm.

The university affects business in the state of Alabama in two ways: 1) Direct expenditures for goods and services by the university, its employees, students and visitors. This spending supports local businesses, which in turn employ local individuals to sell the goods, and provide the services needed by the university’s constituents. 2) Induced or indirect spending within the state of Alabama. The businesses and individuals that receive direct expenditures re-spend this money within the state, thus creating the need for even more jobs.

The university’s direct impact for the study period was $297.6 million, and indirect impact was judged to be $386.8 million for the total impact of $684.4 million.

“This study shows tremendous direct and indirect economic impact that our campus has on the greater Huntsville area,” said UAHuntsville President Bob Altenkirch. “But the influence of the campus extends beyond those dollars. The campus is at the center of an ‘econsystem’ that has positive streams of influence throughout our community.”

For instance, the econsystem includes:

  • Earning power of college graduates: Students who possess a bachelor’s degree earn $900,000 more during their career, or $20,000 annually. This is an extra $375 million paid a year to our nearly 19,000 alumni in Alabama
  • The university’s Small Business Development Center assists local companies by signing federal contracts worth about $1 billion using the center’s services.
  • Researchers, through the development of lean manufacturing techniques, help Alabama manufacturers be more competitive in the global economy, thus helping preserve thousands of jobs across the state.

“UAHuntsville recruits the best minds and retain the brightest young local scholars, thus serving as the center for intellectual development of talent in the community,” Altenkirch added. “This role is crucial for the continued successful future development of our area.”

UAHuntsville received $43.1 million in state appropriations during 2009-2010. The university was able to leverage those dollars and generate an additional $15.88 in the state economy for every $1 invested by the state of Alabama.

Through its local spending, as well as its direct and indirect support of jobs, UAHuntsville stabilizes and strengthens the local and statewide tax base. “UAH is an important part of the state and local economy, generating revenue, jobs and spending,” the report stated. The university generated an estimated $35 million in tax revenues to state and local governments.

Both directly and indirectly, UAHuntsville supported 7,773 jobs in the state of Alabama. The university’s direct employment was 3,109 jobs while indirect employment impact was 4,664.

Research at UAHuntsville has grown from $65 million in 2008 to $82 million in 2010. During the past five years, UAH research scientists have performed more than $200 million in contract and grants, supported 700 graduate students, received 11 patents and created approximately $1 million in licenses and royalty fees.

UAHuntsville attracts millions of dollars to the state in government- and industry-sponsored research and projects. The university’s $78.8 million in sponsored research translates into significant economic impact. The current economic impact of UAHuntsville’s research enterprise is $168.1 million ($70.9 million direct and $92.2 million indirect.)

The university’s research operations make tangible and quantifiable economic contributions, according to the report. Along with creating jobs for research staff and support personnel, UAHuntsville scientists are contributing to new product development and technology commercialization. That knowledge and technology transfer has helped start commercial ventures that promote entrepreneurship, economic development and job creation.

During FY 2009-2010, the $78.8 million that the university received for research contracts and grants supported 932 jobs. These jobs included not only direct employment of research professionals (405 jobs) but also indirect jobs for supply and equipment vendors, contractors and laborers for the construction and renovation of laboratories, administrators and managers who support the research infrastructure, and jobs created in the community by the disposable income of the scientific workforce.

“If the university continues to grow its strong faculty base, it will continue to attract, and consequently spend, increasingly higher levels of research dollars and the number of jobs supported will continue to grow,” according to the study’s authors.

Since 2005, UAHuntsville has received more than $19 million in royalty income from technologies developed at the university. Numerous Alabama companies have been created as a result of research conducted on the campus. Among the companies formed as a result of the university’s technology transfer include: TerraSpace, iXpressGenes Inc., Gene Capture, Alamanda Polymers, Halo Monitoring InQ Biosystems, Dawn Research, Rogue IP, Synergia, AT Biosciences, Decision Innovation, Morcam Inc., Stronghold Defense and Southern Cord.

For decades, UAHuntsville has partnered with government agencies to improve education, healthcare, and the quality of life throughout the greater Huntsville area and the state. Every college within UAHuntsville is engaged in important service programs, and service learning is deeply ingrained across the university’s curricula.

The university’s total impact on the state of Alabama reaches far beyond the typical economic impact. Tripp Umbach estimates that faculty, staff and students who received their education and training at UAHuntsville generate more than $12.9 million annually in charitable donations and volunteer services. This figure includes donations of $2.9 million to local charitable organizations, as well as a generous amount of hours in volunteer services. The economic value of such services is estimated at nearly $10 million.

Tripp Umbach is a nationally recognized consulting firm headquartered in Pittsburgh that developed this study, and has completed thousands of assignments nationally, providing an essential blueprint, through market research, strategic planning and economic impact, for our clients and their communities to generate billions of dollars through new initiatives.

About UAHuntsville:The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a doctoral-granting, “very high research activity” institution with approximately 7,700 students. The campus is among U.S. News & World Report’s Tier 1 national universities. UAHuntsville is the anchor tenant in Cummings Research Park, the second largest research parks in the United States. More information can be found at .


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