|By Darlene Trew Crist|
At the heart of every town-gown dispute is whether having a private university in town really benefits a city. More specifically, because a nonprofit institution like Brown doesn’t pay taxes—though it does make negotiated payments to the city every year—is it doing its fair share to help the local and state economy around it?To answer this question, Brown hired Appleseed Inc., a New York City-based economic-development consulting firm, to do the numbers. In November, Appleseed released its final report, Building Rhode Island’s Knowledge Economy: The Economic Impact of Brown University, which concludes that Brown spent more than $178 million on research in fiscal year 2012, helping to create Rhode Island’s so-called knowledge economy. The report also details how Brown faculty, students, and staff are translating knowledge and discovery into new technologies, products, processes, services, and businesses.
“Research, innovation, and creativity are essential components to strengthening Rhode Island’s economy,” President Paxson said when she released the document. “This report illustrates that Brown has an important role to play in economic growth.”
With 4,459 employees—81 percent of them live in Rhode Island—the University is the state’s fifth-largest employer. Brown also generates significant economic activity through construction and through student and visitor spending in the state.
Highlights from the report: