Michigan State University is excited to announce its year three EDA investment award. The MSU EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI ) is engaged in strategic partnerships and collaborative learning to develop and share the most innovative economic development tools, models, policies, and practices. This collaborative learning focuses on communities that face deeply rooted and social and economic inequality, turning them into economically vibrant places that encourage high-growth entrepreneurial development and create well-paid, sustainable new-economy jobs.
REI’s collaboration has also contributed to MSU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) designation. The designation is an affirmation of long-term efforts which demonstrates, “substantive, sustainable, and institution-wide commitment to strategy for regional economic engagement, growth, and economic opportunity.”
REI was created in 2011 by the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development and is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce - Economic Development Administration (EDA). Through the facilitation of the REI Network, a community of over 2,000 individuals from the public and private sectors, REI is continually informed by some of the most innovative and effective practitioners and scholars in the nation. Current areas of engagement seek innovative community and economic development actions in resilience planning, financial resilience, 21st-century communication infrastructure, and circular economies. REI has a strong track record of partnerships and engaging with Economic Development Districts, along with public and private partners, serving both urban and rural communities statewide.
EDA’s University Center program is a competitively based partnership between EDA and academic institutions that makes the varied and vast resources of universities available to the economic development practitioner community. After receiving notice of the award, Dr. Rex LaMore, Director of the Center for Community and Economic Development expressed his enthusiasm to continue building partnerships and community engagement, “This award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration is a tribute to the creative and dedicated work of our many partners across the state of Michigan who work diligently to create a more equitable economy in our State.”
REI’s unique model of engagement advances innovation and economic development through Student-Led, Faculty-Guided projects which provide assistance to Michigan communities in completing local and regional economic development initiatives. In addition, multiple parties collaborate in a Co-Learning process to generate innovative economic development tools, models, strategies, policies, and practices. Finally, Innovation Fellows seek to incorporate the tools, models, and policies identified in Co-Learning Projects into practice in communities around Michigan. A call for projects will be announced this fall through the Center’s website and social media platforms.