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NextGen Precision Health Initiative will improve healthcare and create $5.6 billion impact to Missouri’s economy by 2045, MU economist finds


Christian Basi

Additionally, the state’s general fund could see $227 million bump 

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center projects the NextGen Precision Health Initiative will have a sizable economic impact on the state of Missouri with investments in the NextGen Precision Health Institute at Mizzou, infrastructure and research collaborations.  

“We’re using modern economics to quantify how NextGen will affect the Missouri economy, focusing on how it will add scholars located in a state-of-the-art facility with advanced tools to begin to answer health questions that are important to Missourians and the whole world,” said study co-author Joseph Haslag. “What’s surprising about the NextGen Precision Health Initiative is that solving these problems will significantly add to the state of Missouri’s economy. By our conservative estimates, the NextGen Precision Health Initiative will have a $5.6 billion impact on the Missouri economy over the next 25 years and add $227 million to the state’s general fund.”

Haslag is the Kenneth Lay Chair in Economics at the MU College of Arts and Science and director of the MU Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center. He also serves as the University of Missouri System’s special advisor for economic impact. He said NextGen is different than other investment projects he has studied. 

“The fundamental research that will be translated throughout the four campuses of the University of Missouri System into effective treatments and devices will improve healthcare for Missourians as well as the rest of the world,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “We will find the root causes and develop cures for devastating diseases that affect Missourians. Missouri ranks 39th nationally in cancer mortalities, 40th in cardiovascular mortalities and 39th in frequent mental distress.”

“Coordinated health initiatives such as NextGen are fairly new,” Haslag said. “On average, research and development makes people more productive because it creates new ideas that in turn spur technological progress. What’s different about NextGen compared to other investment projects is that it is heavily focused on research and development, or idea creation. If you get the right set of people working together, they add value that spills over to other commercial applications so that the impact we project could be even greater.”

The centerpiece of the NextGen Precision Health Initiative is the $220.8 million building currently under construction on Mizzou’s campus. With the building expenditure, the researchers conducting this study assumed an investment of about $400 million for people, buildings, machines and support for basic research and development between 2020 and 2027. The state’s $10 million investment has already reaped returns. In July 2019, the UM System entered into $179 million partnership for the Alliance of Precision Health to provide researchers access to breakthrough imaging technology while also providing patients from underserved rural areas access to the best health care in the state.

“Mizzou is poised to become an innovative epicenter for health care,” Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. “As Missouri’s flagship institution and one of the nation’s leading research universities, we are already home to the nation’s most powerful university research reactor and 13 schools and colleges across the arts, sciences and humanities. The institute at MU allows us to build on these strengths by harnessing our expertise and giving our scholars new tools that drive discovery. Through our growing partnerships with industry, we will be able to more quickly translate these discoveries into personalized health innovations to benefit Missourians and people around the world.”

Existing faculty from the University of Missouri System’s four universities will combine with approximately 60 additional investigators to facilitate discoveries. The investigators will focus their efforts on challenges such as cancer treatments, cardiovascular treatments, neurological diseases and the development of new drugs. 

At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, researchers will use high performance computing and data analytics to enhance computer networking and digital storage of data. Missouri University of Science and Technology scientists are designing new biomaterials that can help the body heal itself, such as glass that can heal wounds and help treat diseases such as cancer. Simultaneously, researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis are battling the opioid crisis, focusing on efforts such as federally funded efforts to enhance health care providers’ overdose responses and providing pathways for those in recovery to integrate back into the workforce.

The study, “The Economic Impact of the NextGen Precision Health Initiative,” was published by the MU Economic and Policy and Analysis Research Center. Other co-authors include Brookelyn Shaw and Rebecca Whitworth at MU.     


Reviewed 2020-01-21