An economic development project that brought together researchers and consultants from EMSI, the Purdue Center for Regional Development, Indiana University’s Business Research Center, and other groups has been awarded a 2010 Award of Excellence by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).
The project, Crossing the Next Regional Frontier, was funded by a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant and focused on creating economic development strategies, particularly in rural regions “where strategic support is often lacking” and innovation lags behind what takes place in metro areas.
Four pilot test rural regions were used during the project: east-central Indiana; southwest Indiana, western Alabama/eastern Mississippi, and the Riverlands region spanning 17 counties in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa.
The C2ER award also took into account the partners’ work in 2007 that led to a report on regional clusters and rural competitiveness.
Here’s more from the statsamerica website:
The project team has developed three sets of tools for this purpose, tested and refined in collaboration with stakeholders in four rural regions around the nation. The tools, available on this website, include:
- An Innovation Index reflecting a region’s innovation activity and capacity, together with an interactive database containing the index and its component indicators for every county in the nation.
- Data on 15 knowledge-based occupation clusters and 17 industry clusters, also contained in this interactive database.
- Analytical tools to help regional planners evaluate public investment decisions in support of economic growth.
EMSI’s work on the most recent report included extensive analysis, data gathering, and GIS mapping. EMSI employment data can be found on the project site’s innovation data browser, which breaks down industry and occupation clusters and other data for an array of specific regions — metropolitan areas, metropolitan areas, economic development districts, counties, etc.
Here, for example, are the most concentrated occupation clusters in California, as of 2007: