The economic benefits of this project should not be understated. Science and Mathematics are significant contributors to the economy. An example of this is a 2018 Gardner Policy Institute study which found life sciences companies make significant economic impacts in Utah, indirectly supporting 6.7 percent of the state’s employment, 5.9 percent of its personal income, and 7.9 percent of its gross domestic product. Total economic impacts were 130,439 jobs, $7.6 billion in personal income, and $13.0 billion in GDP. In 2017, the average compensation per employee in the life sciences industry was $86,396.
Programs such as the new Science Research Initiative provide our undergraduate students with the real-world research experience that is so valuable in today’s economy. SRI participants graduate with a huge advantage over their counterparts in other programs.
The U of U is Utah’s number one educator of science students. Every engineer, every nurse and doctor, every scientist and chemist, every bio lab technician and statistician created in this university must first pass through the College of Science in preparation for a STEM-based career. In 2017, 49% of STEM degrees awarded by Utah System of Higher Education institutions were from the University of Utah. The Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program is the only one in the state.
We are creating rare, valuable job skills at the College of Science, and we need to expand this cross-disciplinary science and math education. In short, this new Science Center will revitalize the University of Utah campus, and is vital if Utah is to build its national potential as a leader in science.