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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Tools for Economic Development

EDA TOOLS

University Center Economic Development Program: Bringing Research to Work

EDA's University Center Economic Development Program makes the resources of universities available to the economic development community.

Institutions of higher education have extensive resources, including specialized research, outreach, technology transfer, and commercialization capabilities, as well as recognized faculty expertise and sophisticated laboratories. The EDA-supported University Center (UC) program is specifically designed to marshal the resources located within colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in regions of chronic and acute economic distress. The UCs, which EDA considers long-term partners in economic development, are required to devote the majority of their funding to respond to technical assistance requests originating from organizations located in the economically distressed portions of their service regions.

The UCs have a long history of promoting and facilitating economic development in their service regions. They have been among the first to recognize emerging technical assistance needs. As early as FY 1980, EDA-funded UCs were among the first to recognize and respond to the needs of small- and medium-sized manufacturers and processors for technology transfer and commercialization assistance.

Most UCs focus their efforts on assisting units of local governments and nonprofit organizations in planning and implementing regional economic development strategies and projects. Typical actions provided by the UCs include targeted commercialization of research, workforce development, and business counseling services. Other UCs may focus their efforts on helping local organizations with conducting preliminary feasibility studies, analyzing data, and convening customized seminars and workshops on topics such as regional strategic planning and capital budgeting.

Related Associations:


Resources:


New Report: Making Connections, Evaluation Project to Assess Best Practices in EDA’s University Center Program (PDF)

University Center Success stories: