University of Wisconsin-Extension selected as EDA University Center for Wisconsin

Five-year grant will fund research and outreach to support state’s regional economic development

Contact: Greg Wise, Center for Community and Economic Development, 608-263-7804,

Madison, Wis.—The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) has selected the University of Wisconsin-Extension as an EDA University Center for Wisconsin.

UW-Extension has been awarded a five-year grant of $750,000 from the EDA. The grant will be used to support a partnership based in the UW-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development and includes researchers and staff from the Center and the UW-Madison Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

EDA University Centers generally focus their efforts on assisting local governments and nonprofits in researching and developing regional economic development strategies. This grant furthers that research and community assistance specifically through support for innovative economic clusters, fostering entrepreneurship, as well as strengthening vibrant and cohesive regional economies.

The Wisconsin EDA University Center will work across the state, aiming at historically underserved small, rural and medium-sized communities and inner city neighborhoods. It will link applied research and action to building sustainable economic development efforts in areas that have lagged thus far in economic recovery.

UW-Extension and UW Colleges Chancellor Cathy Sandeen offered this assessment of the EDA University Center designation: “Not only does this effort align with our mission, but it also supports other priorities such as entrepreneurship, job creation and economic independence for everyone in Wisconsin.”

In its first year, the Wisconsin EDA University Center will engage state and local partners to collaboratively design and develop a research agenda tailored to the needs of regional areas.

At the end of the first year, staff will share the status of research and best practices by piloting a set of briefs on entrepreneurial systems in rural and inner city communities, women and minority entrepreneurship, new factors of industry cluster growth and development, and new regional strategies focused on competitiveness and innovation.

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