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U.S. EDA Announces University Center Competition to Promote Regional Growth

Eligible Universities in EDA's Chicago and Philadelphia Regions Encouraged to Apply

Washington - The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced its FY 2011 University Center Economic Development Program competition to promote bottom-up regional strategies that help foster business expansion and job creation in EDA's Chicago and Philadelphia regions. Applicant submissions should seek to create and nurture regional economic ecosystems through applied research and development, technology commercialization, and targeted activities that cultivate entrepreneurship.

"Investing in regional innovation clusters represent a proven, cost-effective strategy for fostering sustainable growth and University Centers are important partners in this approach to advance the innovation economy and increase competitiveness," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. "This year's competition seeks to expand the capacity of the centers to help build ecosystems where the private sector can flourish and create the connective tissue that will bind together vibrant regional economies."

Regional economic ecosystems have unique components, including a highly networked regional talent pool, with specialized expertise relevant to the region's innovation clusters. This is supported by connections along the supply chain and across disciplines, so that researchers, academics, investors, suppliers, and entrepreneurs can efficiently share ideas and best practices.

Accredited institutions of higher education, including community colleges, or a consortium of accredited institutions of higher education are eligible to apply. EDA will make awards of approximately $1.1 million in the Chicago region and $1.4 million in the Philadelphia region. Annual awards for the University Centers selected in past years generally have been in the range of $80,000 to $200,000.

The Federal Funding Opportunity deadline is June 30, 2011. Applicants may access the application package for this competitive solicitation electronically at www.grants.gov, or request a paper (hardcopy) application package by contacting the appropriate point of contact listed in section IV.E.2. of the FFO.

EDA holds competitions in two of its six regional offices each fiscal year. The agency's Philadelphia region includes Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. The Chicago region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration:

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.