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Indiana Business Research Center

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Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman's office

Last modified: Thursday, October 25, 2007

Federal government awards second grant to IU and Purdue for regional competitiveness

Oct. 25, 2007

Editors: This release is being distributed jointly by IU, Purdue and the Office of the Lt. Governor.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman has helped secure a federal grant for Purdue and Indiana universities to work together to expand a regional study of rural economic development.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded the $349,865 grant to Purdue's Center for Regional Development and the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. It supplements a previous federal grant of $425,500. The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs provided $150,000 in matching funds.

Results of this study will help business and government leaders throughout the nation measure innovation capacity, analyze occupational and industry clusters and prioritize public investments based on competitive advantages in their regions. The research team also plans to test new assessment and strategic planning methods in four diverse regions of the United States. Two of the test regions will be located in Indiana. A region in Southwest Wisconsin and a region spanning parts of Mississippi and Alabama also are being considered.

Skillman said the centers' research is already reaping positive results.

"Although this grant is national in scope, it will especially benefit rural Indiana," Skillman said. "The emphasis on innovation and occupational skills that are relevant to the 21st century economy are critical elements for rural Indiana's future."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Sandy K. Baruah said his agency looks forward to working with Purdue, IU and Indiana officials on this important project.

"Rural America is home to nearly a quarter of the nation's people and more than half of its commercial banks. Yet, with its wide-ranging geography, the ebb and flow of its industries, and its ever-changing technological and global challenges, America's rural economy often performs differently than the rest of the U.S. economy," Baruah said.

"The EDA is pleased to partner with Purdue's Center for Regional Development and the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business to support this expanded study, which will arm economic development leaders with the knowledge they need to build strategies for strengthening rural innovation and entrepreneurship, which is the key to success for not just rural regions, but for all regions, in the 21st century economy."

Sam Cordes, Purdue Center for Regional Development co-director, said the grant affirms the progress already under way.

"The federal government recognizes that Purdue, IU and the state of Indiana are strong partners in economic development and have made significant progress in defining a regional approach to rural economic growth," Cordes said. "In fact, the EDA already is using results of our prior research in ongoing discussions with congressional leaders. We look forward to making even more gains with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Lt. Gov. Skillman and our other partners to strategically evaluate the economic development potential of rural Indiana."

Jerry Conover, Indiana Business Research Center director, said the continued collaboration between the two universities will benefit all Indiana citizens.

"The partnership that has been established among Purdue, IU and state government has served us well in working on the prior EDA grant," Conover said. "We believe this new grant will lead to some path-breaking tools and developments that will help rural America and rural Indiana strengthen their economies."

Other partners and supporting organizations include the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri, Strategic Development Group Inc. of Bloomington, Ind., Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. of Moscow, Idaho, and the Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.