University Center will leverage University assets to foster innovation, economic development
As part of its mission to create jobs and promote economic growth, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA
) has awarded the University of Maryland a five-year, $500,000 grant through its University Center Program. Awarded to the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation’s (MAPP
) Urban Studies and Planning program, the grant will establish a University Center in collaboration with the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University
. The University Center will provide regional economic development tools for practitioners that expand opportunity and create jobs.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship fuel America’s economy. Our success in creating the conditions that spur new ideas will determine the opportunities for future generations,” Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said. “The University Center Program represents an important partnership that advances innovation, supports stronger economic growth, and helps create the high-skill, high-wage jobs of the future.”
EDA University Centers provide targeted assistance with research commercialization, workforce development and entrepreneurship, as well as business counseling services. The Centers also help local organizations conduct preliminary feasibility studies, analyze data, and convene customized seminars and workshops on topics such as regional strategic planning and capital budgeting.
The University of Maryland / Morgan State University Center, spearheaded by Dr. Marie Howland and Doctoral candidate Scott Dempwolf will initially focus on three projects:
• Mapping and modeling innovation and entrepreneurial networks using advanced analytical methods like Social Network Analysis, to provide economic development practitioners and policy makers with new tools to visualize the spatial, social and technological organization of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the state.
• Creating economic, community and physical development plans for the revitalization of the Morgan Mile, a substantial redevelopment area surrounding Morgan State University. This initiative will have the University and surrounding neighborhoods working together to create a vision and implementation plan.
• Expanding MAPP’s Professional Development course offerings for planning and economic development practitioners. The training, offered in partnership with the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA
), will help local economic development and planning practitioners upgrade their skills and maintain their professional certifications.
Assisting Dr. Howland and Dempwolf on the project are Ph.D. candidates Naka Matsumoto and Qiao Yu, and master’s student Allison Bishop. Dempwolf, an advanced Ph.D. student with 14 plus years of experience in the development field, will serve as director of the center. The team will also include Dr. Sidhhartha Sen and graduate students from Morgan State University. “We are also collaborating with faculty and student researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Lab in UMD’s department of computer science on data mining methods and new visualizations for our network models,” said Dempwolf.
The University of Maryland was one of 21 universities selected during the 2011 round, which was open to universities from 22 states and territories covered under EDA’s Chicago and Philadelphia Regional Offices. Substantial portions of the University Center grant application were developed last spring by community planning and public policy master’s students, as the semester project for a graduate course on Technology-Led Economic Development (TLED), taught by Dempwolf.
“As an EDA University Center, we will expand our initiatives to integrate the creativity and talents of our students and faculty with the economic growth and development needs of our State and local communities,” said co-PI and planning faculty member, Marie Howland.
The investment announcement comes on the heels of a commitment by University of Maryland President Wallace Loh and 134 other university leaders to collaborate with industry, investors and agencies to foster both entrepreneurship and economic development as part of the America Invents Act, signed into law last week by President Obama.
“The faculty and students who will develop this new University Center have the resources to drive the much needed innovation and economic growth our state needs today,” said David Cronrath, Dean of The University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “It is part of our continued commitment as a land-grant institution to use our resources, research and energy for a more sustainable economic future.”
To read the official release from the Economic Development Administration, click here
The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland is home to four academic disciplines: architecture, urban planning, historic preservation and real estate development. Committed to educating its students and community about the importance of sustainability and smart growth, the School practices an interdisciplinary approach to education, research, creative work, and community and professional service. For more information, please e-mail us or call 301.405.8000.
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