South Carolinas endowed chairs program has resulted in $1.4 billion in investment in the state and created more than 8,000 jobs, according to an annual report submitted to the General Assembly by the SmartState Review Board.
The jobs were created in part by companies that invested or expanded in South Carolina because of the SmartState Program, by startup companies that were launched based on SmartState research and by research universities in the form of positions funded by grants and investments, the report said.
Nearly 1,100 of these new jobs are from the states automotive industry, as well as the energy and biomedical industries. The average salary of those jobs is $77,000, the report said, more than twice the 2010 annual personal income per capita in the state.
The $1.4 billion total comes from a variety of sources including corporations, non-profit organizations, federal agencies and private philanthropy, the report said.
The private sector believes South Carolina is ready to sit at the table as a major player in the global knowledge economy, said SmartState Review Board Chair Regan Voit.
The SmartState Program was created by the South Carolina Legislature in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds.
The legislation authorizes the states three public research institutions USC, Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas intended to advance South Carolinas economy. Each center is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in lottery funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state investment.
The money funds endowed chairs at the universities. Endowed chairs are world-class researchers and their teams whose discoveries create new technology that can be marketed into products or services. To date, 48 centers have been created and 42 endowed chairs have been hired.
The $1.4 billion investment is more than seven times the $180 million in lottery proceeds that the General Assembly has appropriated for the program between 2003 and 2008, the report said. No additional funds have been appropriated since 2008.
South Carolinas investment in research and innovation helps attract new industry and new jobs, S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt, a former member of the SmartState Review Board, said in a news release. Partnerships with industry and academia are essential to fueling innovation and industry growth.