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Licensing of Research Has Had Huge Impact on Economy & Jobs

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George Goodno
June 10, 2019

A new report from BIO and AUTM demonstrates to enormous return on investment that ultimately comes from public funding of early-stage basic research. The licensing of this research has significantly expanded US gross domestic product, industrial gross output, and jobs over the last 22 years.


The report, “The Economic Contribution of University/Nonprofit Inventions in the United States: 1996-2017,” documents the significant return that US taxpayers receive on their investment in federally funded basic research. During the period the report focuses on, nonprofit patents and the subsequent licensing to industry bolstered US industry gross output by up to $1.7 trillion, US GDP by up to $865 billion, and supported up to 5.9 million person years of employment.

Generous public funding in initial basic medical research is then carried forward by enormously costly private investment with the hope of developing real-life medicines and treatments. Without the willingness of private companies to invest in costly and risky drug development, it is fair to say that most publicly funded basic research would never result in new real-life treatments.