Updated March 28 at 12:29am

Brown report highlights contributions to R.I. economy


PROVIDENCE – In a six-part report prepared by New York-based Appleseed Inc., Brown University outlines its contributions to the Rhode Island economy, including a nearly $180 million investment in research, patent generation and startup creation.

The report - Building Rhode Island’s Knowledge Economy: The Economic Impact of Brown University, November 2012 – was released Monday and highlighted the multiple ways the university is contributing to the economic recovery of both Rhode Island and Providence, and how Brown can help the state and the city “return to a path of sustained economic growth.”

The report assessed Brown’s contributions in six parts:

  • Part One: Brown’s role as one of the state’s largest employers.

  • Part Two: Brown’s contribution to the development of Rhode Island’s human capital.

  • Part Three: Brown’s role as Rhode Island’s leading research institution.

  • Part Four: Brown’s role in the development of new business.

  • Part Five: The involvement of Brown students, faculty and staff in efforts to address community needs.

  • Part Six: A forecast of Brown’s growing contribution to state’s economic recovery over the next five to 10 years.

“Research, innovation, and creativity are essential components to strengthening Rhode Island’s economy,” Brown President Christina H. Paxson said in a prepared release. “This report illustrates that Brown has an important role to play in economic growth, and we look forward to working with our city, state and private industry partners to advance our shared agenda.”

According to the report, Brown University is the state’s fifth-largest employer, and Rhode Island residents make up 81 percent of its 4,459 employees. In 2011, the university spent $131.5 million on construction, nearly $90 million of which was devoted to medical and research facilities that resulted in 208,000 square feet of new or renovated space and created 701 full-time equivalent jobs.

“Brown is Providence’s major-league franchise, and the university’s successful development as an internationally renowned research university is a driving force in our efforts to create jobs, attract investments and grow Rhode Island’s capital city into a regional hub of the 21st-century knowledge economy,” Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said in prepared remarks.

In fiscal year 2012, Brown spent $178.9 million on research, an increase of roughly 29 percent over fiscal year 2009. The university also applied for 98 patent applications on technologies first developed at Brown, was awarded 15 new patents, entered into six licensing or option agreements and received nearly $1.6 million in licensing revenue in the fiscal year.

The report also said that at least 25 new Rhode Island based startups grew from Brown, creating 450 jobs in Rhode Island.

“Brown helps strengthen Rhode Island’s effort to build and sustain a knowledge-driven economy,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. “Its academic research and development, patents issued and educational attainment are some of the key drivers for which Rhode Island’s performance ranks within the top 20 states for current innovation capacity.”

The report did not, however, report an overall economic impact for the university, its staff or its students. To see the full report, click HERE.


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