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SmartState annual report cites 8,000-plus jobs


Staff Report
Published Dec. 1, 2012

The lottery-funded research chairs at South Carolina’s research universities – also known as SmartState – has resulted in more than $1.4 billion in non-state investment entering, or committed to enter, the South Carolina economy, the South Carolina SmartState Review Board said in its annual report to the state General Assembly.

The report states that the program has led to the creation of 8,078 new jobs.

The SmartState-related jobs were created in part by companies that invested or expanded in South Carolina because of the SmartState program, by start-up companies that were launched based on SmartState research, and by research universities in the form of positions funded by grants and Center investments.

Nearly 1,100 of these new jobs are from the state's growing automotive industry, with other SmartState job sectors that include the energy and biomedical industries. The average salary of jobs created by the SmartState Program is $77,000-more than twice the 2010 annual personal income per capita in the state, according to the SmartState board’s estimates.

Return on investment

The $1.4 billion investment in South Carolina is more than seven times the $180 million in South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds that the General Assembly appropriated for the SmartState Program between 2003 and 2008, including more than $1.1 billion directed into the South Carolina economy, plus more than $300 million in committed investments scheduled for the near future.

The total represents a 7-to-1 return on investment for the state, the report states. No additional funds have been appropriated to the program since 2008.

"Such a wellspring of corporate and philanthropic investment in public academic research demonstrates that the private sector believes South Carolina is ready to sit at the table as a major player in the global knowledge economy," said SmartState Review Board Chair Regan Voit. "One of the most gratifying facts is that the SmartState Program was built with lottery revenue-not tax dollars."

Corporations that need to be close to the centers and the SmartState endowed chairs have invested nearly $530 million to develop major infrastructure projects in South Carolina, according to the report. These plans include the construction of factories as well as research and development facilities by companies such as American Titanium Works, Proterra, and Trulite.

Currently, more than 40 companies and organizations have made direct investments of $500,000 or more in SmartState Program Centers for a total of $111 million. Examples of major direct investment contributors include BMW, which has invested $11 million, and The Duke Endowment and Health Sciences South Carolina, which combined have invested nearly $30 million.

Public/private partnerships

"South Carolina's investment in research and innovation distinguishes our state and helps attract new industry and new jobs," said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, a former member of the SmartState Review Board. "Partnerships with industry and academia are essential to fueling innovation and industry growth in South Carolina. The SmartState Program is transforming South Carolina so we can better compete in the global economy."

The SmartState Program was created by the South Carolina legislature in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, Clemson University, Medical University of South Carolina, and University of South Carolina, to use state funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy.

Each Center of Economic Excellence is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in South Carolina Education Lottery funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state investment. To date, 48 Centers of Economic Excellence have been created and 42 SmartState Endowed Chairs have been appointed to lead the Centers. For more information, visit www.smartstatesc.org.


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