NRRI delivers high return on state's investment

NRRI Building
November 4, 2016

A new study aimed at estimating the value of NRRI finds the institution is giving back to Minnesota tenfold on its investment.

A new study aimed at estimating the value of the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) finds the institution is giving back to Minnesota tenfold on its investment.

The findings highlight the amount that NRRI is able to leverage the state funding it receives, roughly $2.4 million in fiscal year 2016, to earn competitive grants and contracts and how those funds spur economic activity throughout the state. The study was conducted by UMD’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) covering NRRI’s fiscal year of July 2015 – June 2016.

NRRI was created by the state legislature at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1983 as an economic development engine to address the challenges of a natural resource-based economy with science and technology advancements. Its strategic research areas encompass energy, water and materials.

More than 200 NRRI business and agency partners were surveyed. Businesses reported an average savings of $60,000 - $100,000 due to NRRI assistance, along with an average of seven to 12 estimated new or retained jobs.

Average cost savings for state, federal, and other agencies were reported between $40,000 - $50,000, with time savings of about six months per project as a result of partnering with NRRI. Altogether, the report estimates that NRRI saved these agencies upwards of $1.5 million over the past year.

Ninety eight percent of survey responders, both business and agency, said they would recommend NRRI’s services to their colleagues citing their product development and industry expertise, collaborative nature, decades of experience and familiarity with the region.

The BBER report further states that, as an employer of around 130 people at two sites, NRRI generates more than 250 new jobs, $17.5 million in wages, more than $23 million to the state’s gross regional product, and nearly $35 million in total output statewide during the 2016 fiscal year.

In the Arrowhead region, the study estimates that more than 200 new jobs can be attributed to spending and operations by the NRRI and that it contributed roughly $18.2 million in wages and benefits. In total, the institute itself is estimated to have increased local output by approximately $28 million throughout the Arrowhead.

“We’re proud of NRRI’s contribution to the University’s land-grant mission, to respond holistically with practical solutions to address the state’s natural resources challenges,” said UMD Chancellor Lynn Black.

The Executive Summary and entire report can be read and downloaded here.

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