Study reports 34 Comic-Cons needed to match economic impact of San Diego research centers

LA JOLLA (KUSI) – According to a report released Tuesday by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (SDEDC), local research institutions have a $4.6 billion impact on San Diego’s economy.

La Jolla’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in particular, has a $2.7 billion impact while university research centers add around $1.9 billion to the city’s economy.

The total is equal to the impact of four conventions, the basing of six aircraft carriers, 33 U.S. Open golf tournaments and 34 Comic-Con International conventions.

The report said that combined, the organizations support 37,000 jobs in the region, receive $1.8 billion in federal and philanthropic funding, and attract the world’s best, including 111 National Academy of Science fellows.

"When it comes to the strength of the region’s life sciences cluster, San Diego has long been a top competitor with other cities across the globe,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the EDC.

"However, no other region has the strength and depth of San Diego’s research institutions,” Cafferty said. "As our recent study shows, San Diego- based research is not only leading the way in terms of scientific discovery, but it is also driving company growth and creating jobs.”

The EDC recommended that coalitions be formed to seek continued financial support. The research industry should also coordinate with the EDC’s
Go Global initiative in order to lure international funding.

The EDC also suggested that industry officials create technical training programs, focus job creation efforts on mid-level positions like laboratory technicians and assistants, and develop more interactive labs to gain interest from K-12 students.

"From Ebola to Alzheimer’s to HIV, San Diego’s research institutions are developing breakthrough therapies that are advancing healthcare and quality of life on a global scale,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "With this study, for the first time, we not only understand the impact these research institutions have on global well-being, but the way they drive job creation and impact our economy.”

The economic impact study was supported by a grant from the Gary & Mary West Foundation, with additional sponsorship provided by UC San Diego Extension, The Scripps Research Institute, Salk Institute and Alexandria Real Estate.

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