In the Washington Watch column in the July 2012 issue of the journal BioScience, Julie Palakovich Carr explores some of the economic returns on federal investments in research.

The complete article is now online at http://www.aibs.org/washington-watch/washingtonwatch2012_07.html. The following is an excerpt from the report:

In 1990, the federal government formally launched an ambitious initiative to sequence the human genome, to identify all the genes in human DNA, and to develop the tools to store and allow access to this information. The effort took 13 years and cost the federal government $3.8 billion. As is evidenced by technological advancements, the cultivation of new lines of research, and countless subsequent scientific discoveries, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was a success by nearly all measures. A question of interest to policymakers, however, is what the economic return on this kind of federal investment is.

The HGP generated great prosperity, according to a 2011 report by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. Between 1988 and 2010, human genome sequencing and associated activities by private industry and researchers generated $796 billion in US economic output. This represents a return on investment of $141 for every $1 spent by the government. The HGP has also generated an estimated 3.8 million job-years of employment and increased government revenue. As was reported by the Battelle group, the genomics-enabled industry generated more than $3.7 billion in federal taxes and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes in 2010 alone. “Thus in one year, revenues returned to government nearly equaled the entire 13-year investment in the HGP,” states the report.

Continue reading the article for free at http://www.aibs.org/washington-watch/washingtonwatch2012_07.html.

 


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