UCSF Serves as $6.2B Economic Engine for Bay Area

By Kristen Bole

UCSF represents one of the principal economic engines in the San Francisco Bay Area, driving $6.2 billion in industry output and creating more than 39,100 jobs regionwide, according to an economic impact report released this morning.

In the first report on the University’s impact since fiscal year 2001, Economic & Planning Systems Inc., of Berkeley, found that UCSF also posts a $720,000 positive net impact on the City of San Francisco’s general fund, while serving as a magnet for bioscience companies.

The report underscores the critical role UCSF plays as the economic backbone of the region, enabling the Bay Area to better weather hard financial times, and points to the significant return on the state’s $225 million annual appropriations to UCSF, according to Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH.

“If you invest in UCSF, the return on that investment is great,” Desmond-Hellmann said. “You get well-trained students and faculty. People who have illnesses get to be healthy. And there is also great return on investment for our economy.”

The report comes at a time of significant economic uncertainty statewide, including the highest recorded unemployment rate – 12.9 percent – since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started comparing state unemployment rates in 1976.

With 21,900 employees, UCSF is the second-largest employer in San Francisco behind the city itself, and the fifth largest in the nine-county Bay Area, the report said.

“UCSF is among the crown jewels of San Francisco, providing good jobs, attracting important national research funding and serving as a key source of talent for the biotech industry,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “It also plays an enormous role in fostering the innovation that is the hallmark of this City.”

The study used standard economic impact models to assess the carry-on effect of core expenses at UCSF, such wages, construction and goods and services for the university and medical center. The models combine those direct impacts from UCSF’s $3.3 billion revenues with the “induced” impacts of household expenditures by UCSF employees, suppliers’ employees, students and retirees.

The final impact was calculated at $4.7 billion for San Francisco, correlating to 32,110 jobs, and a $6.2 billion impact on the nine-county Bay Area, which correlates to 39,134 jobs, the study found. Among those are 1,600 jobs that have been generated each year as a result of UCSF expenditures on construction, which have averaged $180 million per year over the past decade, according to the report.

The report, titled, “A Study of the Economic and Fiscal Impact of the University of California, San Francisco,” was commissioned by the University in an effort to quantify the dramatic changes that have occurred on the campus in the past decade, Desmond-Hellmann said.

Since 2001, UCSF’s revenues have nearly tripled in size, from $1.3 billion to $3.3 billion, due to the growing success of both its biomedical research enterprise and of the UCSF Medical Center. The medical center alone contributed $1.8 billion in revenues last year while serving as a world-class healthcare facility and training ground for students.

UCSF also has become the largest public recipient of research funding from the National Institutes of Health, receiving $463 million in grants last year and attracting another $133 million in grants from the American Restoration and Reinvestment Act.

In 2003, UCSF also opened its first building at Mission Bay, which launched the new research campus along Third Street. Since then, as the campus has continued to expand, San Francisco’s share of Bay Area biotech real estate has risen from 0.7 percent to 6.1 percent, according to the report.

That campus has further spurred the innovation for which both UCSF and the Bay Area are renowned, Desmond-Hellmann said. It also has attracted significant attention from the biotechnology industry and has spawned 30 start-up companies based on University of California research, through the QB3 Mission Bay Incubator Network.

“UCSF is central to the optimism, energy and innovation that are here in San Francisco,” said Desmond-Hellmann. “We are essential for the economy here.”

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit www.ucsf.edu.

For more information on the 2010 Economic Impact Report, visit www.ucsf.edu/economic-impact.