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UMR Releases Annual NIH Economic Impact Report: 2021 Update

March 24, 2021


UMR Releases Annual NIH Economic Impact Report:
NIH Research Critical to U.S. COVID-19 Response and to U.S. Economy
More than 536,000 Jobs and $91 Billion Economic Activity Supported in FY20


WASHINGTON, DC – March 24, 2021 – For the past year, while the NIH has spearheaded the effort to develop the tools, vaccines and treatments needed to combat COVID-19, it also has been supporting research in labs across the country that is essential to America’s health and wellbeing beyond the current pandemic. This extramural research, which in Fiscal Year 2020 totaled $34.65 billion in competitively awarded grants, supported 536,338 jobs and generated $91.35 billion in economic activity, according to data from United for Medical Research (UMR).

NIH’s Role in Sustaining the U.S. Economy, released today by UMR, looks at the national and state-level impact of NIH research funding. More than 80 percent of the NIH budget is awarded in grants each year, directly and indirectly supporting jobs. The income generated by these jobs, as well as by the purchase of research-related equipment, services and materials, when cycled through the economy, produces new economic activity. In FY20, 26 states had at least 5,000 jobs supported by NIH research and 30 states saw at least $500 million in new economic activity as a result. In 23 states, new economic activity exceeded $1 billion.

“This data clearly shows that NIH research is not just essential to our health, it is helping to fuel our economy as well. Beyond the jobs and economic activity outlined in our report, the NIH also is supporting discoveries and training a workforce that help America’s life sciences industry remain a global leader,” UMR President Chol Pak said.

The report also illustrates how increases to the NIH budget since 2015 have made an immediate difference in terms of grants, jobs and economic activity. Compared to FY15, increases to the NIH budget in FY20 resulted in $11.85 billion more funding for grants to researchers, $30.6 billion more economic activity and 183,989 more jobs.

“We are grateful to Congress for recently putting the NIH back on a sustained growth path and for the strong, bipartisan commitment to funding medical research,” said Pak. “Given the link between ending the COVID-19 pandemic and our economic recovery, now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. There’s never been a more urgent need to keep the NIH strongly funded. Every dollar invested in the NIH pays off exponentially.”

Download the report here

Access interactive map here

UMR is a coalition of leading research institutions, patient and health advocates and private industry seeking steady and sustainable increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health in order to save and improve lives, advance innovation and fuel the economy. Learn about our members’ response to COVID-19