The Economic Development Administration has awarded the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine $ 509,000 over five years to fund the University Center for Economic Development, a collaboration of experts from the University’s system of Maine, which will provide technical assistance and research for the implementation of the state’s 10-year economic development strategy.
The academic center will be led by internationally renowned experts from the Maine Center for Business & Economic Research (CBER), UMaine’s School of Economics and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, with specific programs that will focus on strengthening state innovation networks and support workforce transitions due to technological change.
“The center will have the strength and depth to be able to offer critical information about the Maine job market and take the pulse of the economy,” said Andrew Crawley, assistant professor of regional economic development at the ‘UMaine, who will serve as the co-director of the EDA University Center with Ryan Wallace at CBER. “The pandemic has changed the economic landscape around the world and Maine is no different. The challenges of the recovery will be to understand the performance of the different sectors and this will be an activity carried out by the center. ”
Guided by an advisory board, the center will work closely with state-wide stakeholders to inform research and technical assistance priorities. The initiative will support the successful implementation and results of state strategies, while improving the competitiveness of Maine’s innovation economy and talent pool. Projects should align directly or indirectly with other areas of intervention, including the promotion of high-growth entrepreneurship, the encouragement of business expansion in state innovation hubs and increased resilience of regions in Maine, all of which coincide with state and regional economic development strategies. .
“What we’re trying to do is explore how our entrepreneurs, our human talents, and our businesses are networked,” said Deborah Strumsky, senior research associate at the Maine Center for Business & Economic Research. USM’s Cutler Institute. “Right now, it’s a very disparate entrepreneurial environment, the agencies and industries are very compartmentalized. Economically speaking, we can be more than the sum of our parts if we work together. You need to understand all parts of the innovation ecosystem, where they are, what they do and how they interact if we are to build a more equitable and vibrant economy in the future, a better economy for everyone. world.
The centre’s work comes at a unique time in Maine. The pandemic has caused or accelerated economic stressors statewide, and it has exacerbated many of the challenges identified in Maine’s 10-year economic development strategy, including the lack of employees.
The work of the center falls mainly in two areas of intervention defined by the EDA: cultivating innovation and developing a highly qualified regional workforce. In addition, projects should align directly or indirectly with other areas of intervention, including the promotion of high growth entrepreneurship, encouragement of business expansion in innovation clusters of the State and increased resilience of Maine regions, all of which coincide with state and regional economic development strategies.
Contact: Lindsay Tice, [email protected]; 207.838.8087