U.S. Economic Development Administration University Centers: Leveraging Federal Dollars Toward Best Practices

G. Jason Jolley, Behzad Taimur


This paper reviews the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center (UC) program, which encompasses 58 UCs across EDA’s six regions. A review of each UC’s activities reveals a diverse, and often specialized, expertise for UCs that reflects and integrates best practices in economic development. Older UCs more often focus on traditional economic development activities, such as technical assistance to organizations in their service region, while newer UCs reflect learning and best practices by focusing on entrepreneurship support, targeted commercialization of research, workforce development, and business counseling associated with Third Wave strategies. This work informs not only the scholarly community about the depth and diversity of the UC program, but also economic development practitioners who may work with UCs on economic development initiatives.


Economic Development Administration (EDA), university center, higher education

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UEDA is the nation’s only membership organization focused on university-led economic development, with members drawn from higher education, the private sector, and community economic development stakeholders.  Through news and information, public policy, educational programming and best practice sharing, UEDA works to expand economic opportunity in our communities by leveraging research, community and campus planning, talent development, and technology commercialization.

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