• 2017 Annual Conference | Early rates end June 30

    Join your innovation economy peers in building bridges for a better future in Washington, DC on Sept. 13-15 while showcasing your impacts for federal officials and legislators. Register today and save with our early bird rate.
  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies. Learn more about membership...
  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Publicly funded biomedical research paves way for private R&D

April 06, 2017

Although the U.S. National Institutes of Health may face decreased funding under the new presidential administration, recently published research in Science argues that public investments in biomedical research play an important role in driving private sector R&D. In an analysis of 365,380 grants awarded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 1980 and 2007, researchers from Harvard Business School, MIT and Columbia University find that 8.4 percent of grants directly generated patents, primarily by hospitals and universities. A much larger share – approximately 30.8 percent – of NIH grants awarded during that time produced research cited by private-sector patents. While policymakers often focus on direct patenting as a measure to capture the economic returns to publicly funded science, the authors’ findings suggest that this may not be the best metric. Instead, they propose that indirectly linked patents demonstrate that publicly funded scientific research builds a foundation for private sector R&D. For additional reading, the study has been covered by numerous outlets, such as The Scientist, Newsweek, The Washington Post, PBS, The Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post.

nih