Indiana University is deeply engaged in the economic growth of the Bloomington regional economy, but remains committed to finding the best possible “formula” to make the fullest impact on the community’s strategic efforts to cultivate talent, workplace development and innovation.
IU leaders discussed the university’s current economic impact statewide, regionally and locally — as well as its vision to deliver even greater benefits to the Hoosier communities it serves — at the 2022 State of the Bloomington Regional Economy meeting, presented last month by the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.
A 2020 study commissioned by the university indicated that IU delivers a nearly $10 billion economic impact on the state, including a high return on investment for students and taxpayers. According to the study, one out of every 26 jobs in Indiana is supported by IU and the activities of its students.
IU Vice President for Government Relations and Economic Development Bill Stephan cited the positive results of the economic impact study, which determined that IU’s impact is equal to 2.7 percent of the total gross state product of Indiana — a figure larger than the entire accommodation and food services industry in the state. He also emphasized the need for Indiana and its flagship public university to remain focused on ensuring that greater numbers of Hoosiers acquire a level of post-secondary education and stay in the state after they graduate. This past spring, IU awarded 20,853 degrees to students at commencement ceremonies held across the state, more than any other Indiana college or university.
In a Q&A session with Stephan, Rahul Shrivastav, executive vice president and IU Bloomington provost, spotlighted the economic impact of IU’s research activities, which span hundreds of research centers, institutes and museums across its campuses statewide. These activities, he said, “get translated into products, companies and jobs across the state.” According to the economic impact study, IU spending related to research generated a net total of more than $464 million in added income for the state economy, which is the equivalent to supporting 8,777 jobs.
As provost, Shrivastav, who joined the university earlier this year, oversees the Bloomington campus community of more than 45,000 students, 2,400 faculty and 5,700 staff. He also provides academic leadership and support for faculty and student initiatives that enhance education, research and creative activity. Shrivastav said the university will aim to further leverage its cutting-edge research and innovation — including its work in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and the health and life sciences, among other areas — toward enhancing Indiana’s economic competitiveness, attracting and retaining top talent to the state, and improving the quality of life of all Hoosiers.
To this end, he called attention to the positive community impacts already being generated by the new IU Regional Academic Health Center in Bloomington, now a major health care campus that serves as a space for teaching, learning and research, but also for hospital and trauma care for Indiana’s south-central region. He also mentioned the potential for the university to make even greater contributions to the expansion of the state’s key economic sectors, including health care and biotechnology, through the research and expertise housed at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering as well as the IU School of Medicine, the nation’s largest medical school with nine campuses reaching across Indiana.
“We have to find the right formula that works for us and our state,” Shrivastav said.
Stephan added, “For IU, with the state’s only medical school, our efforts to engage in the state’s key industrial sectors are critically important.”
Shrivastav and Stephan both underscored the importance of community partnerships to extend IU’s reach and impact, with Stephan sharing that IU, the state’s largest research university, now has more than 20 research agreements with Naval Support Activity Crane, Indiana’s largest military installation. Last year, IU also teamed up with Crane, the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University to develop a new initiative funded by the Department of Defense aimed at addressing workforce development and research needs in the area of trusted artificial intelligence.
“We’re always looking for ways to form strategic partnerships with the state’s leading employers,” Stephan said. “We’re asking ourselves how we can provide employers with easier access to the talent that exists at IU, including faculty expertise, and how we can provide students with the types of experiential learning opportunities that will ensure their successful transition to the Hoosier workforce.”
Phil Powell, associate dean of academic programs and a clinical associate professor of business economics and public policy at the IU Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, began the meeting with an economic update, in which he described the strengths of the Bloomington regional economy in terms of talent, key industry expertise and innovation. According to Powell, the Bloomington labor force increased by around 1.3 percent last year, which represented growth 50 percent higher than the national average. Bloomington also ranks among the top 10 out of more than 400 metropolitan areas in the medical device industry, and in the 97th percentile nationally in economic innovation.
“IU is leaning into helping the Bloomington regional economy address and take advantage of these opportunities,” he said.
More information about IU’s economic engagement and impact is available online.
Learn more about IU’s provost and his vision for the IU Bloomington campus community.