“Educating people is one of the most important things research universities do, and it benefits everyone: students themselves, the states and localities where those universities are located, and the nation. This important study is one of the first to use hard data to provide direct evidence of some of these benefits, drawing on new information being developed as a part of the UMETRICS program.” Hunter Rawlings

Economic Stimulus from Research Investments and PhD Recipients’ Earnings Found in Study Published in Science

A study published in Science led by IRIS Professors Julia Lane of New York University, Bruce Weinberg of Ohio State University, Jason Owen Smith of the University of Michigan, Paula Stephan of Georgia State University, and Ron Jarmin of the U.S. Census Bureau shows a significant path by which federally and non-federally funded investment in research make an impact on the economy.

IRIS researchers found that students who graduate with doctorate degrees disproportionately find employment in large and high-wage entities of the private sector. The establishments that employ doctoral recipients pay a median salary almost $30,000 higher than that paid by research and development performing organizations and nearly $60,000 more than the average payroll per worker in the private sector. In many cases, these jobs are clustered near the universities where the doctoral recipients conducted their research and received training – thereby contributing to local and national economic growth.

Titled “Wrapping it up in a person: Examining employment and earnings outcomes for PhD recipients,” the study captures what the researchers call the “human dimension” of the impact of funded research on the economy. The findings represent a milestone in the researchers’ collaborative efforts over the past seven years to determine how to measure the initial economic impact of research funding.       The data capture the 2010-2012 earnings of 3,197 PhD recipients who were funded with research grants at the universities of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State, and Wisconsin.

Read the whole story on sciencemag.org »