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ERIC Number: ED517507
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 48
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Building New York City's Innovation Economy
O'Grady, Jim; Bowles, Jonathan
Center for an Urban Future
Academic research institutions have long been important economic anchors for New York City. They provide thousands of jobs and serve as a magnet for talented students and faculty, who inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy through federal research grants. Yet, even though New York's concentration of top-fight scientific institutions--from Columbia University and New York University to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University--is among the world's most impressive, this part of the city's economy has never served as a major source of growth. In the wake of an economic downturn that has delivered a powerful blow to the city's traditional economic drivers--finance in particular--this will have to change. With analysts predicting that the financial sector will never return to its 2007 job levels, New York's universities and nonprofit research institutions could provide a crucial economic spark in the near term and become a reliable job generator in the long run. These institutions represent a promising opportunity for New York in part because they are immobile assets--even in today's global economy, they're not going anywhere--and because scientific and technological breakthroughs are likely to fuel much of the nation's future economic growth. Many of these breakthroughs will emanate from university research. To be sure, New York will never create a high-tech economy on par with Silicon Valley, where technology sectors are as firmly rooted as the finance and media industries are here. Nor does it need to do so. But the city could do much more to capitalize on its prowess in scientific research and technological innovation. And the moment is perfect for such an effort--it has never been more important to diversify the local economy and create a powerful new engine for job creation. In previous years, the Center for an Urban Future has published reports about the growth potential of the city's biotech and video game sectors. This study, however, goes beyond any one technology industry, and looks at the role that universities and nonprofit research institutions play in New York City's economy and their potential to be a catalyst for future growth. It documents both the breadth of scientific assets in the five boroughs and the challenges to converting these resources into economic activity. This report mainly assesses what the city's scientific institutions have done to support and promote the commercialization of research in a way that has local economic benefits, but it also explores the level to which New York City and state economic development officials have attempted to cultivate the growth of emerging technology industries. This report also provides a comparative analysis of the city's leading scientific institutions with those of national leaders such as Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Florida. This study is accompanied by New York City's first-ever Innovation Index, a compendium of data that demonstrates where New York stands compared to other cities and regions on a broad range of indicators measuring both existing science and technology assets and the city's level of success at commercializing these assets. [This report was edited by David Jason Fischer.] (Contains 101 endnotes.
Center for an Urban Future. 120 Wall Street 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Tel: 212-479-3341; Fax: 212-344-6457; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for an Urban Future
Identifiers - Location: New York