Skip to Content

Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property

Innovation Works

Translating Innovation into Jobs

"Innovation" is one of six core values listed in the MSU Strategic Plan, and a major driving force in economic development. The Innovation Works (I-Works) Initiative consists of programs for campus faculty, staff and students, and outreach to engage the community. The overarching goal is translating innovation into local economic development opportunities and jobs.

Economic Development and Societal Value

Value Proposition for the Local Community
As an Urban Research University, MSU impacts the local economy through education, research and public service. One aspect of public service is to translate the results from the research laboratory to the public mainstream to generate societal value though new and improved products and services. This is accomplished through university technology transfer - integrating the research and public service activities of the University.

One of the unique aspects of technology transfer is that innovations born out of academic research often lead to the formation of new companies that develop new products, create jobs and spark economic growth. In 2016, AUTM reported that 1,024 startup companies were formed from university tech transfer licensing - almost three per day - while the Science Coalition, states "Companies spun out of research universities have a far greater success rate than other companies, creating good jobs and spurring economic activity." A 2015 report prepared for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), The Economic Contribution of University/Nonprofit Inventions in the United States: 1996-2013, states "the total contribution of these academic licensors to gross industry output ranges from $282B to $1.18T, in 2009 U.S. Dollars; and contributions to GDP range from $130B to $518B, in 2009 U.S. Dollars. Estimates of the total number of person years of employment supported by U.S. universities' and hospitals' and research institutes' licensed-product sales range from 1,130,000 million to over 3,824,000 million over the 18 yr. period."

Job Multiplier: The Value of High-Tech Jobs

Recent studies have assessed the regional economic benefit of adding high-tech jobs. The work of U.C. Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti is provided in his 2013 book The New Geography of Jobs. Moretti studied 320 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and found a likely job multiplier effect of 5x stemming from high-tech jobs. His analysis: in the long run, for every new high-tech job, five jobs are also created locally outside of the technology sector, in both professional (2 jobs) and non-professional (3 jobs) sectors. Traditional manufacturing has a multiplier effect of 1.4 jobs.

Business Incubators: Local Economic Development

Furthermore, the National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) has shown that for every one dollar of public operating subsidy, incubators, clients and graduates generate $30 in local tax revenue alone, and that 84% of incubator graduates stay in their communities. Publicly supported business incubators create jobs at 1/10 the cost (~$1,000/job) of other supported jobs creation mechanisms (>$10,000/job). Incubators also reduce the risk of small business failures as 87% of all graduate companies are still in business after 5 years.