Brock study es­ti­mates school’s eco­nomic im­pact

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Local - AL­LAN BEN­NER Al­lan.Ben­ner@ni­a­garadailies.com 905-225-1629 | @aben­ner1

Brock Univer­sity is worth al­most a half­bil­lion dol­lars a year to Ni­a­gara.

The univer­sity’s Ni­a­gara Com­mu­nity Ob­ser­va­tory fo­cused its lens on it­self in a new pol­icy brief called The Brock Ef­fect, pub­lished Wed­nes­day.

The study de­ter­mined the eco­nomic im­pact the univer­sity had on the re­gion that sur­rounds it last year, con­ser­va­tively es­ti­mat­ing that its 19,000 stu­dents and nearly 5,000 fac­ulty and staff, its $320 mil­lion in cap­i­tal and op­er­a­tions spend­ing, as well as the univer­sity’s vis­i­tors con­trib­uted as much as $450.3 mil­lion to Ni­a­gara’s econ­omy.

“It re­ally is some­thing that should not only be cel­e­brated by us, it should be cel­e­brated by the en­tire com­mu­nity,” Brock Univer­sity pres­i­dent Ger­van Fearon said, while an­nounc­ing the re­search con­ducted by ge­og­ra­phy and tourism pro­fes­sor Jeff Boggs and grad­u­ate stu­dent Lau­ren Ped­dle.

Al­though the study fo­cused on the univer­sity’s value for money, he said the univer­sity’s eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tion is only one com­po­nent of its im­pact on the com­mu­nity. For in­stance, he said staff vol­un­teers and stu­dent co-op place­ments are “mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions through­out the re­gion.”

Mean­while, Fearon said the univer­sity’s place in Ni­a­gara helps draw “raw tal­ent” to the re­gion.

“In­creas­ingly, the com­pet­i­tive­ness of re­gions is driven by tal­ent. And con­se­quently, we’re part of the eco­nomic driver of the re­gion. We’re an as­set for the re­gion, and that’s pre­cisely the role that we’d like to keep play­ing,” he said.

Boggs said the re­search was con­ducted us­ing two tech­niques for es­ti­mat­ing eco­nomic im­pact, in­clud­ing both its di­rect and in­di­rect im­pact on the com­mu­nity.

While the $450.3-mil­lion to­tal was de­ter­mined through a tech­nique named for Univer­sity of Bri­tish Co­lum­bia pro­fes­sor Wal­ter Sud­mant, the sec­ond more con­ser­va­tive tech­nique — the Cana­dian In­put Out­put model — pegged the univer­sity’s to­tal lo­cal eco­nomic im­pact at $257.4 mil­lion.

“In any case, it’s a fairly large chunk of change,” Boggs said.

In ad­di­tion to the lo­cal im­pact, the study showed an On­tario-wide im­pact of $639.8 mil­lion us­ing the Sud­mant model, and $436.2 mil­lion us­ing the Cana­dian In­put/ Out­put model.

Boggs said al­most all of Brock’s ex­pen­di­tures — about 96.3 per cent — are made within the prov­ince.

AL­LAN BEN­NER THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Brock Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Jeff Boggs, at right, with grad­u­ate stu­dent Lau­ren Ped­dle, dis­cusses a re­port on the univer­sity's eco­nomic im­pact.

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