Economic Impact

Rochester SkylineURMC continues to be a leader in commercializing technologies that not only improve health on a global scale but also serve as a foundation for economic growth.  In 2010, new initiatives were launched to accelerate the transfer of URMC discoveries to the market and foster growth the regions new technology companies.  A new report also confirmed the growing role of health care and higher education in the region and state’s economy.  The University and Medical Center are now the sixth largest employer in the state and responsible for approximately 9 percent of the region’s workforce.

Medical Center Technologies Improve Health and Create New Companies and Jobs

For the eighth consecutive year, the University of Rochester has found itself among the most successful institutions in the nation in terms of technology commercialization.  The University ranked ninth in the nation with $72.3 million in royalty income according to the Association of University Technology Managers survey of 2008 activity.  The income was based on 99 active license agreements with industry researchwith the bulk of revenue coming from two pediatric vaccines created using a method developed at the Medical Center; a cervical cancer vaccine based in part on some 20 plus years of research by a trio of URMC virologists; and a series of antibody technologies that have applications in drug discovery and design. 

The Medical Center launched several new companies in 2010 to commercialize a broad range of technologies.  These early stage companies play a vital role by bringing promising new technologies to the market and contributing to the region’s growing critical mass of employers in knowledge-based industries.  URMC technologies that were licensed to new start-up companies in 2010 include a drug discovery platform that employs a novel high throughput screening assay, software-based systems and methods for vision retraining and general vision improvement, medication dispensing devices and software, and an innovative method of transmitting energy through the skin to power implanted medical devices without the cords.

New Initiatives to Propel Technology Commercialization

Two new initiatives were launched in 2010 to help accelerate the transfer of university technologies to the marketplace.  In October, the University and the Medical Center announced the creation of a new Technology Development Fund to support continued research on promising technologies by University scientists with the goal of pushing these ideas closer to market. In December, the Medical Center, Empire State Development, and New York Assemblyman Joseph Morelle announced a $2 million pilot project to invest in early stage technology companies.  The Upstate Regional Seed Fund will be overseen by Excell Partners, an affiliate of URMC, and will also receive support from Cornell University and Syracuse University.

Health Care and Higher Education Continue to Drive Job Growth

A new report by the Center for Governmental Research released in May documented the scope of the University and Medical Center’s impact on the region’s economy.  The report reveals that the University – which in 200X became the largest employer in the region – is the sixth largest private sector employer in New York State.  To underscore the growing role of health care and higher education in the state’s economy, nine of the 20 largest employers in the state are universities with academic medical centers or health systems.

The report also shows that the University and Medical Center:

  • Paid $1.25 billion in 2009 in wages to employees;
  • Spent $184 million in 2009 on local goods and services;
  • Is responsible for approximately 47,000 jobs (8.8 percent of the labor force);
  • Spent an average of $214 million per year on capital improvements.