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University Center Program

  • An informational webinar for prospective applicants was conducted by EDA on Wednesday, April 7, at 3:00 pm ET. View the slides. (PDF)
  • EDA will also host the first annual University Center Week, April 19-23, 2021. Current University Centers are encouraged to share their success stories via Twitter, using the #EDAUnivCenters hashtag.

About the UC Program

EDA recognizes that institutions of higher education are critical players in the development of vibrant economic ecosystems. Universities are sources of significant economic development assets—such as faculty, staff, students, research and proof of concept centers, laboratories, and high-speed broadband networks—that can support regional economic growth.

The purpose of EDA’s University Center program is to enable institutions of higher education and consortia of institutions of higher education to establish and operate University Centers (UCs) specifically focused on leveraging university assets to build regional economic ecosystems that support innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship, resiliency and inclusiveness. By responding to the economic development needs of their regions, University Center programs are demand-driven by nature. Historically, UCs have been leaders in promoting and facilitating economic development in their regions. They have been among the first to recognize emerging technical assistance needs. As early as FY 1980, EDA-funded UCs responded to the needs of small- and medium-sized manufacturers and processors for technology transfer and commercialization assistance. More recently, some UCs have been providing resources and guidance on how to create a digitally inclusive economy while others are working with stakeholders in their regions to address economic impacts from the closure of major plants.

UC Focus Areas

University Centers collaborate with other EDA partners, such as Economic Development Districts (EDDs), by providing expertise, applied research, and technical assistance to develop, implement, and support regional strategies that result in job creation, high-skilled regional talent pools, and business expansion in a region’s innovation clusters.

UCs focus on one or more of the following areas: regional commercialization efforts, advancing high-growth entrepreneurship, cultivating innovation, encouraging business expansion in a region’s innovation cluster, developing a highly skilled regional workforce, or increasing the resiliency of a region.

University Centers (Map)


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Notice of Funding Opportunity

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcement publishes EDA’s application submission requirements and review procedures for applications received under The University Center Economic Development Program, authorized in section 207 of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. § 3147).

2021 EDA University Center Week Success Stories

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