Berkeley Lab Research News

Berkeley Lab Generates Millions For Bay Area Economy

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April 21, 1997

BERKELEY, CA -- Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is responsible for generating more than half a billion dollars annually in the economy of the Bay Area, according to an analysis of Berkeley Lab's total spending impacts.

Using a generally accepted economic impact model, Berkeley Lab has estimated that its direct annual expenditures in the region total $400 million, with another $149 million resulting from indirect and induced impacts. The Lab is responsible for generating up to 5,600 jobs, the study says.

According to the report, which uses 1995 data, the Lab spent $290 million for salaries, benefits and procurements, plus $8.3 million in retiree pensions and $4.7 million in retiree medical benefits -- most of which recycles throughout the region. Guests to the Lab contributed an estimated $47 million in spending during their visits to the Bay Area, and conferences contributed $48 million to the regional economy.

The analysis also shows Berkeley Lab is the second largest employer in Berkeley (after the University of California at Berkeley) and the 12th largest in Alameda County.

"By whatever measure you choose, it is clear that Berkeley Lab is a valuable contributor to the Greater Bay Area economy," said Lab Director Charles V. Shank. "We're proud of the positive impact we have made on the development and growth of the area in our 65 years of service to the community and the nation."

Shank also noted that the Laboratory is responsible for many other contributions that can't be quantified in dollars and cents but are nonetheless critical to the regional welfare -- science partnerships with Bay Area industry, consumer savings through energy efficiency advances, and outreach efforts in education and public service.

Berkeley Lab, located in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus, operates with an annual budget of more than $340 million and employs over 3,300 people, including more than 1,000 scientists and engineers. About 400 students work at the Lab while pursuing their degrees, and the Lab plays host to nearly 200 guest researchers each year from the United States and abroad.

The economic analysis, coordinated by John Andrew of UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, noted Berkeley Lab's direct effects of payroll and purchasing, plus the re-spending effects in the greater economy. It applied an economic multiplier analysis and input/output model used by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

The Lab's employment profile shows 60 percent of its workers residing in Alameda County and 30 percent in Contra Costa County. More than 1,000 Lab workers live in Berkeley, and about 450 live in Oakland. In 1995, the Lab spent about $137 million in salaries and wages, $41 million to employees living in Berkeley. About $119 million of the total went to workers living in the East Bay.

Of the $76 million in goods and services purchased from commercial vendors, $43 million went to small businesses and $9.3 million to small disadvantaged businesses. Another $20 million in goods and services was purchased from non-commercial vendors, like the University of California, state and local government, and non-profit organizations. Berkeley Lab does business with about 11,000 vendors annually.

In addition, the Lab is host for more than 50 conferences each year, attracting several thousand guests to the Bay Area. Outside users of Berkeley Lab's unique scientific facilities numbered 1,730 in 1995. These short-term visitors combined to boost the local hospitality industry by an estimated $400,000, according to the report.

The Lab's technology transfer program has facilitated research partnerships throughout the Bay Area, including notable work with the California semiconductor industry and companies like Rockwell, Motorola, DuPont, Seagate, Chiron, Octree Corporation and Advanced Photonics. Another collaboration with Kaiser Permanente is focusing on a network-based data management and communications system for storing, analyzing and transmitting medical images and information, sometimes directly into the operating room.

Combined industry and government partnership commitments exceed $65 million, with over half the projects tied to California companies. The Lab also receives more than $40 million for sponsored research from agencies like the National Institutes of Health, Amgen, Children's Hospital, and the U.S. Navy.

The report pointed out that "while Berkeley Lab has secured its reputation for basic scientific research, many of the Lab's scientific discoveries and inventions have had direct application in industry, spawning new businesses and creating new opportunities for existing firms."

Start-up companies in Alameda County benefitting from Lab-developed technologies project sales revenues of over $20 million annually by 1998. Among them are Berkeley firms PolyPlus, which markets solid-state lithium battery technology, and Morris Research, which sells superconductivity instrumentation. Symyx of Sunnyvale, another start-up company, is commercializing Berkeley Lab's pioneering method for synthesis of new materials.

The impact of energy efficiency programs and partnerships on the state and nation has been enormous, according to the report. With a total research and development investment of $70 million in areas like new lighting sources, window coatings, and appliance and housing standards, the Lab estimates that consumers have already reduced their energy bills by $5 billion as of 1993.

Throughout California, Berkeley Lab's advice in building design, lighting and window technologies has assisted utilities companies and their customers to maximize their energy use. The Laboratory hosts the California Institute for Energy Efficiency, a research consortium of utility companies, universities and research laboratories. CIEE's mission is to identify, plan and fund coordinated research on energy-efficient end-use technologies.

Copies of the Berkeley Lab Economic Impact Analysis are available from the Berkeley Lab Technology Transfer Department, One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA 94720.

Berkeley Lab is a non-classified scientific research laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, managed by the University of California.

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