Montana’s Investment in Research and Commercialization Paying Big Dividends

Economic Impact Study Conducted by Bureau of Business & Economic Research Shows Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology has “Outsized Impact” on Montana’s Economy

A recent study by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), the main research unit of the School of Business Administration at the University of Montana, shows the Montana economy has been impacted by the ongoing operations of the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology (MBRCT) at the Montana Department of Commerce.

The report, titled The Economic Impact of the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology, uses a state-of-the-art policy analysis model and publicly available data on program spending and associated impacts to produce a detailed assessment of the ultimate impact of the operations of the program on employment, income, output, and population in the Montana economy.

The study finds that the operations of MBRCT “have produced a larger, more prosperous and populous state economy increasing the tax base since 2000 than would have existed in its absence”.

“Studies such as this one help validate the fact that economic development programs make a big impact in Montana,” said Meg O’Leary, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “The Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology invests state money in projects that are at the forefront of research and innovation, and in return these projects add jobs, income, and tax revenues that boost the quality of life for all Montanans.”

Specifically, BBER found that in the 14-year period of MBRCT awards (2001-2014), its operations have produced the following economic outcomes:

* An average of 459 jobs per year have been created over this 14-year period which owe their existence to the operations of MBRCT;

* More than $315 million in additional income was received by Montana households, measured in inflation-corrected dollars, over this 14-year period due to MBRCT, or an average of $22.5 million per year;

* After-tax household income of Montanans was higher by almost $229 million over the 14-year period because of the operations of MBRCT;

* Montana-based businesses and other organizations realized $718 million in increased gross sales, or more than $51 million per year on average, as a result of MBRCT activities; and

* The State of Montana’s tax and non-tax revenues, not including property taxes, were $66.1 million higher in total in the 2001-2014 period due to MBRCT’s impact on the economic base, with additional MBRCT-induced revenues averaging $4.7 million during each year.

The study states that, “by almost any measure, the MBRCT program’s impacts have been substantial and it clearly has been a good investment in the state economy.”

“This program is the best bang for the buck that Montana taxpayers receive for each dollar spent,” said Marty Connell, MBRCT Board Chairman. “The money returns tenfold to Montana with increased businesses, jobs and tax revenue. There is no better investment by the State of Montana.”

“The MBRCT was created to provide a stable source of funding for research and commercialization projects in Montana,” said Dave Desch, Executive Director of MBRCT. “We are proud of the many commercialization successes that we have been able to foster through our investments.”

One of those recent commercialization successes has been Bacterin International, Inc. http://www.bacterin.com , in Belgrade. Under the direction of Dr. Gregory Juda, Bacterin developed and commercialized an allograft based bone void filler for surgical bone grafting applications. MBRCT funding was essential to the concept development and preclinical studies of this Class II medical device. The OsteoSelect® product is comprised of donated human bone tissue and a polymer component designed to improve handling characteristics during surgical application. When implanted into a surgical site, the product induces bone regeneration at the graft site.

According to Dr. Juda, “Sales for the OsteoSelect® product generated $6.0 million in revenue for 2013. We estimate the number of Montana jobs created directly related to this project to be at least 12.”

The Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology (MBRCT) was established by the Montana Legislature in 1999 to encourage economic development by supporting research projects that demonstrate the potential for commercialization. In its 14-year history of awards, MBRCT has supported projects in agricultural research, energy and mining research, biotech and medical research, photonics and optics research, and other research including software, bioreactors, carbon dioxide sensors and biomimetic floating islands.

The full study can be accessed by visiting http://businessresources.mt.gov/content/MBRCT/MBRCTEconomicImpactReport . For more information, please contact Dave Desch at (406) 841-2579 or ddesch@mt.gov.