UCSD An Economic Powerhouse, Report Finds

    UCSD is one of the largest employers in the country, providing California with nearly 21,000 jobs and contributing a net positive output of $7.2 billion to the state economy, campus officials reported at a celebratory ceremony last Tuesday.

    Citing a comprehensive report conducted last month by independent firm CBRE Consulting, Inc., local government officials and campus administrators at the ceremony touted UCSD’s growing contributions to both the local and national economies that have continued to rise over the last year despite the current U.S. financial crisis.

    During the last fiscal year, in which the national economy generally contracted, UCSD spent a total of $2.275 billion and provided the state with 20,790 jobs, making it the third largest employer in San Diego.

    “When we think about job creation, when we think about technology, when we think about life sciences, when we think about all those types of things, UCSD helps San Diego grow both nationally and internationally,” San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said.

    The report also detailed a more widespread university impact on San Diego County’s economy, including 193 start-up companies founded by faculty, alumni or students and 12,810 new jobs.

    Alumnus Steven Hart, co-founder of digital communications giant VioStat, credits UCSD for much of the innovation essential to the economy.

    “I can’t help but think of the differences between the optimism at UCSD and the economy as it is,” Hart said. “We’re really fortunate to have a world-class institution in our backyard. You have to have people willing to move to see lots of jobs and lots of opportunity.”

    CBRE reported that UCSD spent $798 million on research expenditures over the last fiscal year, for a total of 373 new inventions, 85 license agreements and 64 patents — in addition to the 500 active patents it currently owns. Speakers at the ceremony agreed that the figures are impressive.

    “For a university under 50 years old to achieve so much is simply amazing,” Matthews said.

    Chancellor Marye Anne Fox noted the importance UCSD, named the seventh best public university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, holds among academics.

    “The university maintains thousands of jobs which offer resistance to economic hard times and cutting-edge research and academic research,” Fox said.

    Spending has increased significantly since the 2006-07 fiscal year, in which UCSD spent approximately $714.3 million on research. The campus’ medical center in particular has grown exponentially, now serving over 21,000 patients annually and seeing over 650 alumni remain in the county to continue medical practice.

    “These are numbers that show we have stability, but what else?” Vice Chancellor of Resource Management and Planning Gary Matthews said. “That ‘what else’ is important. It’s really the intangibles that matter.”

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