Sparking Economic Growth: How Fundamental Research Drives Economic Growth and Innovation

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Fundamental research is where innovation begins. It is the foundation of all scientific progress — the pursuit of original, first-level knowledge that catalyzes advancements in science, technology, medicine, energy, and national security. For decades, federal agencies have led the way in fundamental research, awarding grants to innovative projects at colleges and universities, where much of this research takes place. Through this competitive process, federal dollars have supported — and continue to support — advances across industries, from chemical manufacturing to telecommunications to behavioral sciences and myriad others.

To understand the economic impact of fundamental research investment, FTI Consulting (FTI) analyzed the research expenditures of members of The Science Coalition (TSC), a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of more than 50 of the nation’s leading public and private research institutions between 2015 and 2019. FTI also examined the impact of select “spinoff” companies rooted in the federally funded research conducted at TSC universities. FTI found that as a result of the long-term federal investment in fundamental research, new innovations, businesses, and jobs are created, all of which transform daily life for millions of people in communities across the country.

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