In a new national report by the Brookings Institution on the commercial outcomes of downtown research universities, Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) ranked 12th best overall and 8th for startups.
On a per-student basis, downtown universities outperform schools in the suburbs and rural areas in such economic drivers as licensing deals and income, number of inventions and startup creation, according to “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Oversized Impact of Downtown Universities” by the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at Brookings.
In addition to Jefferson’s high overall and startup rankings, the University scored in the top 20 nationally in all other metrics analyzed: licensing deals (15th), disclosures (13th), licensing income (19th) and patents (15th).
In its bid to become Amazon’s second headquarters, Philadelphia also tipped its hat to Jefferson and its contributions to the city’s economy. The Chamber showcased the University’s strength in innovation and entrepreneurship in an Amazon pitch video that highlighted Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Jefferson and Jefferson Health, and Bon Ku, MD, associate professor in the department of emergency medicine and director of JeffDESIGN. (See the video below.)
“The knowledge economy is driven by the strategic interplay between universities, firms, entrepreneurs, research labs and independent inventors who draw strength from each other in virtuous cycles of innovation,” the report stated. “Research shows that these interactions are most productive when they occur in geographically dense clusters. Innovation districts—employment hubs in the cores of cities that co-locate research, entrepreneurs, housing and mixed-use amenities—are perhaps the most recent and tangible example of innovation clusters.”
This report compared the commercial outcomes of research universities located within employment-dense neighborhoods in the 100 largest cities to the average research university. Compared to those in the suburbs or rural areas on a per-student basis, downtown universities produce 80 percent more licensing deals, disclose 123 percent more inventions, receive 222 percent more income from licensing agreements, create 71 percent more startups, and invest $22,044 per student on research and development annually compared to $12,633 among their peers.
“Research universities are the crown jewels of the American innovation economy,” the report said. “However, some universities are better positioned than others to drive growth.” Those institutions located in downtowns and midtowns of large cities, the report said, “punch above their weight in terms of commercial outcomes.”
The report showed that Philadelphia is an innovation powerhouse, with the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University in the top 10, and Drexel University at No. 25.