Saskatoon study highlights the economic impact of USask’s VIDO

USask's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). File / Global News

The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has contributed more than half a billion dollars to the economy over the past 10 years, according to an economic impact study by the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA).

“Saskatoon is an international science and innovation hub. Organizations like VIDO create a significant number of jobs right here in Saskatoon. We are a science city and the impact of our innovation sector on the economy shouldn’t be underestimated,” said Alex Fallon, president and CEO of SREDA.

The study showed that more than $511 million has been contributed to the economy over the last decade due to VIDO’s operations and construction projects.

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It added that an estimated 2,375 full-time equivalent jobs were created or supported over the last 10 years due to the organization.

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Paul Hodgson, the director of business and development with VIDO, says he isn’t surprised by the study’s findings.

He said from the vaccine perspective, the return on investment has been good.

“So when we look at now the operations and construction aspect, we see a similar style of overall economic impact,” Hodgson said.

He added that the development of Canada’s centre for pandemic research will also further contribute to the economy, noting that construction projects are underway.

Hodgson said the centre will allow them to do everything from discovery to vaccine manufacturing, adding that it has already hired 100 people over the past three years.

The report from SREDA said VIDO tested more than 400 vaccines, antivirals and therapeutics to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

It added that the new facility will also have upgrades to the containment Level 4 and a new animal housing facility.

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