The MSU EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) was created in 2011 by the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development and funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce - Economic Development Administration (EDA). Its goal is to work with Michigan's most economically distressed 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.
By employing a nationally unique process engaging thinkers and doers across the state, REI identifies innovative tools, models, policies and programs that can support economic growth in our most distressed communities. 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. LaMore, Director of the Center for Community and Economic Development stated, “We are thrilled to have received notice of continued investment by the EDA in our pioneering work.”
The Center 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.