University Center Program
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 that can support regional economic growth.
The purpose of EDA’s University Center program (PDF) is to enable institutions of higher education and consortia of these institutions to establish and operate University Centers (UCs) focused on leveraging university assets to build regional economic ecosystems that support innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship, resiliency, and inclusiveness. 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.