University’s Work Supports More Than 7,000 Jobs in the Region

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UMass Lowell delivers $854 million in positive economic impact annually, including supporting more than 7,000 jobs.


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LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell’s positive economic impact on the region continues to climb and has reached an all-time high of $854 million a year and supports more than 7,000 jobs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, according to a report released today.

Since 2010, UMass Lowell’s annual regional economic impact has increased from $490 million to $854 million, according to “The Innovation Effect,” which was developed by UMass Lowell with data from the UMass Donahue Institute.

That positive impact includes supporting 7,097 jobs in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire through UMass Lowell’s direct employment of 1,976 people and another 5,121 workers who are in off-campus roles related to university activity, such as construction, transportation, retail and professional services, according to the report.

“The figures released today quantify how UMass Lowell has thoroughly embraced this idea of entrepreneurship and how committed we are to the economic success of the region,” said Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “UMass Lowell has successfully translated our entrepreneurial approach, along with our strength in research and academics, into a range of programs and other efforts that benefit our students, the community and employers of all sizes.”

Moloney unveiled the findings in an appearance before the Lowell City Council’s Education Partnerships Subcommittee on Tuesday, Nov. 10. In addition to economic development initiatives, the university has been working with city government on a joint marketing campaign, a “college town” partnership and the implementation of a $13.4 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

UMass Lowell’s research activity by faculty and students is one of the major drivers of the university’s economic impact. Since 2007, UMass Lowell has grown research expenditures through a mix of grants, private funding and university investment from $36 million to $65 million annually. The economic impact of that research, often conducted with industry partners including major employers like Raytheon, was $104 million last year and supported 529 jobs.

An offshoot of UMass Lowell’s research activities, the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) delivers more than $75 million in economic impact on its own. A joint effort of the UMass campuses in Lowell and Worcester, M2D2 supports 370 jobs, including those associated with the startups based in its two business incubators in Lowell where client companies like Infobionic have flourished. Infobionic, makers of a remote monitoring system for individuals with irregular heartbeats, has attracted more than $28 million in external funding since moving into M2D2’s incubator in the Wannalancit Mill Building in Lowell in 2011. Last month, M2D2 opened more space in Lowell’s Hamilton Canal District at the 110 Canal building, also home to UMass Lowell’s new Innovation Hub, an incubator for early-stage technology companies.

“This report demonstrates the real impact of innovation on our city and our region. Projects like M2D2 and the Innovation Hub help translate our significant research capabilities into startups, companies and jobs that then allow people to live, work and play in Lowell. Our investment in the Hamilton Canal District demonstrates the university’s commitment to helping Lowell grow as a tech hub as well as a hub of arts and culture,” said Steven Tello, UMass Lowell’s associate vice chancellor for entrepreneurship and economic development.

UMass Lowell is also fueling economic activity in the region through entrepreneurial use of its facilities – including the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center and University Crossing – for events such as conferences that have drawn thousands of researchers, academics and other visitors from around the world.

The Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, a 7,000-seat sports and entertainment venue, generates $10.5 million in economic impact annually. It hosted approximately 200 events and drew more than 330,000 visitors during the last fiscal year, including 36,000 to just two conferences held there in one month. A single UMass Lowell men’s ice hockey game at the Tsongas Center creates nearly $200,000 in positive economic impact for local businesses, including restaurants, hotels and those that supply goods and services to the venue and the team. The River Hawks – who rank 12th in NCAA hockey for fan attendance with an average of 5,487 – play at least 18 home games during the 2015-2016 season, which began last month.

The UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, which houses more than 500 students and offers lodging year-round for the public, opens all of its accommodations after the end of the academic year for conferences and events like the Lowell Summer Music Series and the Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. The facility, which offers event space for the campus and community all year, creates $4.7 million in economic activity annually.

UMass Lowell is also building its future economic impact through educating students who will become leaders in business, the community and government after graduation. Approximately 83 percent of UMass Lowell’s 52,000 alumni work in Massachusetts, according to the report.

Experiential education opportunities, including co-ops and internships, are being expanded annually to offer more chances for UMass Lowell students to test their classroom instruction in the real world. Such opportunities include the DifferenceMaker program, which teaches students entrepreneurial skills they can use to solve problems in business and the community. One of the ideas developed through the program, which was founded three years ago, is Nonspec’s prosthetic limb, which is designed for use by children in Third World countries because of the low cost – the prosthetics are made with a 3D printer – and that they are scalable to grow with the wearer. Nonspec has gone from a competitor in the DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge to a full-fledged business that has secured $180,000 in funding and has its headquarters in UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub business incubator.

The full “Innovation Effect” report is available here: Innovation Effect Report (pdf).

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,500 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.