MSUToday
Published: March 9, 2017

New study shows FRIB significantly impacts Michigan’s economy

By: Penny Davis Media Communications office: (517) 355-5158 penny.davis@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Mark Burnham Governmental Affairs office: (517) 353-9000

A new economic impact study shows the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University is expected to have a significant impact on Michigan’s economy and job creation. From construction through operation, FRIB is expected to generate accumulated wages totaling $1.7 billion and add $4.4 billion to the state’s economy.

The study analyzes payroll expenditures, material purchases and the acquisition of services over two phases: the construction phase (FY2009-FY2021) and an anticipated 20-year operational phase. The study’s payroll analysis shows that FRIB will create up to 1,500 Michigan jobs at the height of the construction phase and about 1,000 permanent jobs during operations.

“FRIB is the cornerstone of our drive to strengthen and diversify Michigan’s economy by investing in cutting-edge research, and to train the next generation of science leaders,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “The nation’s No. 1-ranked nuclear physics graduate program is here already, educating about 10 percent of the nation’s nuclear science Ph.D.s.”

Progress on FRIB continues to move expeditiously and ahead of plan. The project will also reach a construction milestone later this month when civil construction reaches beneficial occupancy, enabling the installation of technical equipment. Beneficial occupancy is the stage before final completion, in which the facility can be used for its intended purpose.

In addition to funding FRIB operations, the Department of Energy Office of Science funded $635.5 million of the $730 million construction budget while the State of Michigan invested $94.5 million. About 83 percent of total construction expenditures will go directly to Michigan businesses and workers generating an average of $149 million in in-state purchases, annually.

The state’s investment in FRIB is expected to generate $205 million in tax revenues and $831 million in higher gross state product, or the total market value of all goods and services produced in Michigan, through 2040.

FRIB will be the world’s most-powerful rare isotope beam facility upon completion in 2022. Providing over 1,000 new rare isotopes never before produced on Earth, it will more than double the research opportunities available in nuclear physics. Many of these isotopes will likely have properties critical to discoveries in key areas such as national security and nuclear medicine.

Michigan State continues to work closely with state and regional economic development officials to maximize opportunities for future job creation related to FRIB. MSU will continue to seek new companies interested in utilizing its research results, such as Niowave and Ionetix. These private venture companies have leveraged MSU’s accelerator technologies and talent to develop innovative commercial products for the medical and security industries.

As part of the University Research Corridor, Michigan State, along with its partners, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, drew $1.1 billion in federal research dollars into Michigan in 2016. On its own, Michigan State brought in $398 million of that, excluding FRIB construction funding.

The study was conducted by MSU’s Center for Economic Analysis and is an update of a prior economic impact study conducted in 2008. Read the complete study here.