Sunflower field with one sunflower in focus

How KU drives economic growth

The University of Kansas is an economic engine for the Kansas. Below are some the ways the university drives economic prosperity by educating students, providing critical infrastructure to Kansas communities, and conducting research that leads to new products and services.

KU addresses the state’s workforce needs

The university awards 6,400 degrees and certificates annually, making KU the top source of talent for the Kansas workforce. Additionally, 25 percent of KU’s out-of-state students stay in Kansas after graduation, making KU the state’s leading talent magnet.

KU has Kansas’ only schools of medicine and pharmacy — meaning it’s the only institution equipped to address the state’s critical need healthcare practitioners, especially in rural areas.

Additionally, KU partners with individual companies like Cessna and Black & Veatch to provide specialized training and internship programs to meet workforce needs.

KU creates startup companies

KU researchers have created or provided the technology for 44 active startup companies. Of those, more than half are in Kansas.

KU brings new companies to Kansas

Since 2010, more than 30 companies have located in or near Lawrence to partner with KU. Examples include Archer Daniels Midland, ViroVax, and Ligand Pharmaceuticals. Many of these companies are located in the KU Innovation Park, which houses 60 corporate tenants — including companies like ADM and Garmin — totaling more than 500 private sector jobs and $30 million in payroll. These companies chose to be in the KU Innovation Park so they could be close to KU researchers and students.

KU brings external research grants into the state

When KU researchers win federal research grants, that’s new money that comes into Kansas that would otherwise go to other states. In 2020, KU researchers conducted $275.4 million in externally funded research. These sponsored research dollars supported the salaries of just under 4,000 people in 2021 and accounted for $50.7 million in spending for services in the state of Kansas.

KU provides direct services to Kansas communities

KU provides direct services and infrastructure to communities – especially rural communities – many of which couldn’t flourish or exist without assistance. For example:

  • KU Medical Center provides telemedicine and rural health clinics that reach every corner of the state.
  • KU trains every law enforcement officer in the state of Kansas through the university’s Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.
  • The Kansas Geological Survey at KU monitors water levels in western Kansas to help farmers with long-term planning.
  • The Fire & Rescue Training Institute at KU trains thousands of firefighters and first responders so they can serve Kansas communities.

KU attracts donations from outside Kansas

Nearly 40 percent of KU donors live outside Kansas. So when out-of-state donors are inspired by the work we’re doing and make a donation to KU, that’s new money that flows into Kansas.

KU economic development at work

in externally funded research
federally funded research employees
annual KU Innovation Park payroll
private-sector jobs created