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Economic Impact Reports

America’s research universities are complex, multi-faceted institutions that support a wide variety of research and educational activities and provide a broad array of public and institutional services. Among their many societal contributions, research universities generate significant economic activity.

As labor- and service-intensive institutions and incubators of new ideas and technology, research universities serve as economic engines for their communities and regions, providing well-educated graduates, employing thousands of workers, attracting large federal, industry, and foundation grants and contracts, creating innovative technologies and businesses, fostering new business opportunities, and expanding the tax base. 

AAU is an association of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. The 60 U.S. members of AAU:

  • Educate 1.2 million undergraduate students and 570,000 graduate students each year;
  • Employ more than 710,000 people, more than the population of Seattle, WA;
  • Have combined annual operating budgets of about $152 billion (2013);
  • Have patented and licensed thousands of innovative discoveries and technologies that have fostered new products, companies, and entire industries in such fields as medicine, public safety, food and agriculture, new materials, semiconductor devices, education, and communications;
  • Issued 3,460 patents and executed 3,068 licensing agreements in 2013;
  • Initiated 479 start-up companies in 2013, of which 73 percent operate in the same state as the licensing institution. 

Many AAU universities have developed detailed reports on their local and regional economic impacts:

Boston University

Brandeis University

Brown University  

California Institute of Technology  

Carnegie Mellon University - no report available  

Case Western Reserve University: see also here   

Columbia University - No report available  

Cornell University  

Duke University  

Emory University  

Georgia Institute of Technology  

Harvard University: see also here   

Indiana University  

Iowa State University  

The Johns Hopkins University  

Massachusetts Institute of Technology  

McGill University  

Michigan State University  

New York University   

Northwestern University  

The Ohio State University  

The Pennsylvania State University  

Princeton University  

Purdue University  

Rice University - No report available  

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey  

Stanford University  

Stony Brook University-State University of New York  

Texas A&M University  

Tulane University  

The University of Arizona  

The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York        

University of California, Berkeley  

University of California, Davis  

University of California, Irvine  

University of California, Los Angeles  

University of California, San Diego  

University of California, Santa Barbara  

The University of Chicago: see also here and here   

University of Colorado at Boulder  

University of Florida  

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  

The University of Iowa

The University of Kansas

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

University of Missouri-Columbia

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Oregon

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh  

University of Rochester  

University of Southern California  

The University of Texas at Austin  

University of Toronto  

University of Virginia  

University of Washington  

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

Vanderbilt University  

Washington University in St. Louis  

Yale University