Impact from Innovation: Carnegie Mellon University

Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) was retained by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), one of the world’s leading education and research institutions, to produce an economic impact study demonstrating the importance of the university as a regional and global economic engine.

ESI report, entitled Impact from Innovation: Carnegie Mellon University’s Role as a Local and Global Economic Engine, estimated that CMU produces a $2.7 billion annual economic impact within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the vast majority of that impact takes place within the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding region. This direct and indirect economic activity supports about 18,000 jobs in Pennsylvania (nearly 10,000 of which are located in the City of Pittsburgh) with total earnings of nearly $1.2 billion. Nearly 10,000 of those jobs are located within the City of Pittsburgh. In addition, it finds that while CMU is itself a not-for-profit institution, the economic activity it produces makes it a large generator of state and local tax revenues.

The report also explored CMU’s role as an integral part of the decades-long transformation of Pittsburgh’s regional economy from industrial powerhouse to knowledge center. Pittsburgh is a case study in the transformative power of research and education driven activity to re-orient the key export items of a region from tangible goods to knowledge activity. CMU, which attracts students, academic talent and research funding and students from around the country and around the globe, is central to this transformation.

The report concludes with an analysis of CMU’s role in positioning Pittsburgh to compete as an innovation hub moving forward. The intellectual capital and entrepreneurship activity represented by CMU, and the innovation ecosystem it has helped foster, has given Pittsburgh a vital “first mover” advantage in evolving fields like robotics, computer science, and virtual reality. CMU’s reputation, expertise and talent pipeline in these fields have helped to make Pittsburgh a prime destination for cutting-edge technology firms and investment, remaking the city’s global brand in the process.

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