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February 8, 2018

NIH Research funding drove nearly $69 Billion in Economic Activity in FY17 and supported more than 402,000 jobs

Washington, DC – United for Medical Research (UMR) today released new economic data showing the powerful impact that research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has on the U.S. economy. In fiscal year 2017, NIH research funding directly and indirectly supported 402,816 jobs nationwide.  Moreover, the income generated by these jobs, as well as through the purchase of research-related equipment, services and materials, when cycled through the economy, produced $68.795 billion in new economic activity.

“As Congress finalizes funding for FY18 and looks toward FY19, we urge lawmakers to consider this data – which clearly illustrates that investing in the NIH is good for American’s health and the economy – and provide at least a $2 billion increase to the NIH budget each year,” said UMR President Alex Currie. “While it can take many years for the discoveries that flow from medical research to reach the public, conducting this research has an immediate, positive economic impact on communities across the country and in every state.”

The numbers in UMR’s latest analysis show a correlation between recent increases to the NIH budget and increased economic benefits. In each of FY 2016 and FY 2017, Congress approved a $2 billion increase to the NIH budget – the first substantial increases in more than 10 years. This enabled the NIH to award $3.3 billion more in extramural research grants in FY 2017 than in FY 2015, translating into an economic impact of 50,467 more jobs and $8.08 billion more economic activity attributable to NIH research funding in FY17 than in FY15.

“The many champions of medical research in Congress know there is no better return on investment than research that improves health and saves lives. For others who think the federal budget can’t afford this type of investment, this economic data should convince them otherwise. The NIH truly is an engine for both medical and economic progress,” Currie said.

United for Medical Research has provided an analysis of the employment and economic activity attributable to NIH extramural research spending each year since 2011. Each of the analyses has been conducted by Dr. Everett Ehrlich of ESC Company using the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) developed by the Department of Commerce.

In FY 2017, the NIH provided just over $26.1 billion in extramural research funding to scientists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This funding directly supports the jobs of the principal investigators and their research teams, the producers of the specialized equipment used in the research process, and ultimately, the jobs of the people who provide the goods and services demanded by those researchers and equipment manufacturers. According to the analysis, the median state has 4,014 jobs due to NIH research activity with 13 states having employment of 10,000 or more. Additionally, the income generated by these jobs, as well as through the purchase of research-related equipment, services and materials, when cycled through the economy, produced nearly $69 billion in new economic activity in 2017. Twenty states experienced an economic gain of $1 billion or more.

Link to UMR 2-Page Summary Report: HERE

Link to State-by-State Impact: HERE

United for Medical Research is a coalition of leading scientific research institutions and industries, and patient and health advocates that have joined together to seek steady increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health. Learn more at For examples of the amazing things that NIH research is making possible, visit