This study estimates the economic significance of biomedical research for a geographic region. Through a survey of nonprofit biomedical research institutions in the metropolitan New York region and an analysis of research budget data obtained from the area’s six largest research institutions, estimates were made of the spending effect of biomedical research on the region. Biomedical research undertaken by the voluntary institutions in metropolitan New York accounted for almost $1.15 billion per year in direct spending in 1991. When the indirect and induced ripple effects of this spending on the regional economy were considered, the total annual spending impact was over $2.3 billion. Sponsored biomedical research directly generated 19,816 jobs per year in the host institutions. The indirect and induced job creation in the region amounted to an additional 12,773 jobs per year for a total of almost 32,600 regional jobs per year. As economic development becomes more competitive locally, regionally, and internationally, the biomedical sciences that have always been intrinsically valued gain extrinsic value. Therefore, techniques for estimating their economic impact are becoming increasingly important.

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