Special Section: Research Impact

Economic Impact of Research


Research, both basic and applied, is fundamental to the mission of the University of Oregon and essential to Oregon’s economic and civic vitality. Research is very broad at a major university like UO, and it helps teach students, prepare them for a changing world, and shape society in a multitude of ways.

  • Excellence in research attracts a world-class faculty to the university.
  • Research is an important part of student learning at both the undergraduate and graduate level, engaging students in the scholarly work of faculty, fostering inquiry and experimentation, and developing intellectual rigor and discipline that well prepares students for their futures.
  • University scholars advance the civic, social, and cultural landscape of our communities and serve as a resource for state policy makers.
  • Energizing Oregon’s economy, UO research contributes to the creation of new businesses and jobs.

UO research contributes millions of dollars to the Oregon economy, annually. Research creates jobs for the people who live in our communities, pay state taxes, and send their children to our schools.

Sponsored Activity

Sponsored Ext. FundingSponsored activity — outside dollars in support of UO research, teaching and service activities — totaled $120.4 million in 2013, including both direct costs and facilities and administration cost expenditures. Research activities accounted for $87.1 million (72.3%) of the total sponsored expenditures in FY2013, while instruction and other sponsored activities accounted for the remainder. The University of Oregon (UO) was awarded $97.6 million from external funding sources in grants, contracts and other competitive awards for the fiscal year 2012-13 (FY13).

  • The vast majority of research awards, 99 percent, come from outside the state. 
  • For each dollar of state appropriations, UO researchers were awarded $2 of external funding.

See the UO Report on Sponsored Activity for external funding statistics from 1998 to the present.


UO affiliated startup companies generated more than 275 jobs and over $27 million in company income in Oregon alone in 2013. The UO Innovation Partnership Services office seeks to accelerate the adoption of innovations derived from UO research and education. The office’s 2013 employment numbers represented an increase of 1.29 percent from 2012. Each year an average of two UO startup companies are born. The university’s roster of firms numbered 22 in FY 2013.


The UO is nationally recognized for translating basic research discoveries into practical applications:

  • In FY13, the UO’s Return on Research Through Licensing Income (licensing income divided by research expenditures) was 8.55%, ranking UO in the top 20 U.S. Universities.
  • UO research innovations generated $7.4 million in licensing revenue for the Oregon economy in FY13.

The UO is working to generate even more startups through the new Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN), which launched this year and will support new technology companies and boost the innovation ecosystem in the south Willamette Valley.

RAIN is a partnership that

  • Unites businesses, communities, local and state governments and higher education to foster economic growth and innovation;
  • Generates new jobs, trains students, and connects entrepreneurs to mentors and resources;
  • Provides access to high-tech research facilities where new companies can develop their products.

Learn more by visiting oregonrain.info

Other resources