Reports Detail MSU’s Economic Development Role

STARKVILLE, Miss. –Future economic growth and new jobs will come from advances in science and engineering, according to a recent study by the National Research Council.

Mississippi State and major research institutions like it are already contributing to the coming wave of innovation-based economic expansion.

“Our central economic development objective is to strengthen collaborations between the university, organizations and businesses to create high-wage jobs,” said Melvin Ray, MSU’s associate vice president for economic development.

Over the past decade, industries recruited to the state with MSU help include Nissan, GE-Aviation, Aurora Flight Sciences, American Eurocopter, Stark Aerospace, PACCAR and other automotive and aerospace companies, Ray said.

The Office of Research and Economic Development at MSU released a new report recently detailing the university’s economic development-related activities and their impact in the Magnolia State.

Titled “The Role of Mississippi State University in Helping to Grow the State’s Economy,” the document provides a snapshot of the active role that the land-grant institution plays in enhancing economic opportunity for Mississippians. It is available at

According to its chief research officer, the university’s commitment to growing the state’s economy is by design.

“We have taken purposeful steps to make innovation, entrepreneurship and community engagement priorities on our campus. We have been building that culture with students, faculty and staff for a number of years,” said David Shaw, Mississippi State’s vice president for research and economic development.

“We have an innovation ecosystem in place that is growing capacity and the economy by creating jobs, enhancing quality of life and providing new opportunities in communities around our state, ” he added.

Among other items, the report notes:

–For every $1 million increase in funding sustained over 2012-2020, the local area could expect an estimated 22 new jobs with an average salary of $36,825;

–In FY11, the university received more than $167 million in grants and contracts from federal agencies and private companies;

–Based on REMI economic impact modeling, it is estimated that MSU research funding is potentially equivalent to creating between 3,000 to 4,000 jobs in the state;

–Since FY 1994, MSU has generated 33 startup companies covering an array of sectors, including renewable energy, biotechnology, social media, defense, power electronics, geospatial software and semiconductors;

–MSU startups employed nearly 100 high-tech, higher-median salaried workers in FY 2010;

–Companies located in the Cochran Research Park at MSU have more than $80.2 million in private capital investments;

–In a survey, 12 of 16 Cochran Research Park tenants provided median income data with a range between $35,000 and $114,000. The median household income for Mississippi is $37,881, and $51,914 for the U.S.;

–In its collaborative work with a number of companies, the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension Office is estimated by a third-party to have had a $1 billion impact annually over the last five years.

“We deploy a wide range of tools to enhance opportunity and establish profitable connections,” Ray said.

Most recently, the MSU team has launched the Economic Development Assistance Network.

“EDAN was created as a resource for economic developers, business owners, entrepreneurs and others in business and industry, and is designed to quickly connect university experts — and expertise — with the state’s business community,” Ray said.


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