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University Center Economic Development Program

Grants to USA IHEs and Consortia of IHEs in Multiple States
for a University Center that Fosters Regional Economic Growth

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Economic Development Administration (EDA)

Deadline Date:

06/04/21 11:59 PM ET Electronic Receipt


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Grants to USA institutions of higher education and consortia of institutions of higher education in multiple states to establish and maintain a university center that fosters regional economic growth. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. The purpose of the funding is to use university assets to build regional economic ecosystems that support innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship, resiliency, and inclusiveness. Eligible applicants are those located in Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, DC, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

University Centers collaborate with other EDA partners, such as Economic Development Districts (EDDs) by providing expertise and technical assistance to develop, implement, and support regional strategies that result in job creation, high-skilled regional talent pools, and business expansion in a region’s innovation clusters. Expertise and technical assistance may address, for example, workforce training programs, applied research centers, technology commercialization, feasibility studies, market research, economic impact analyses training, and other technical assistance to help communities foster vibrant economic ecosystems.

EDA encourages the submission of applications that will create and nurture regional economic ecosystems through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skill development, workforce training opportunities, applied research and development, technology commercialization, and targeted activities that cultivate entrepreneurship and improve regional economic development. A regional economic ecosystem supports innovation clusters through three main components:

  • A highly networked inclusive regional talent pool, with specialized expertise relevant to the region’s innovation clusters (including connections along the supply chain and across disciplines so that researchers, academics, investors, suppliers, and entrepreneurs can efficiently share ideas and best practices);
  • A support system for turning discoveries into marketable goods and services, including business counseling, incubation programs, and proof-of-concept centers; and
  • Innovation infrastructure (which includes both tangible and non-tangible types) necessary to support innovation and resiliency such as education, workforce development, and financial infrastructure.

In addition, EDA encourages University Center program applications that:

  • Align with the DOC Strategic Plan, with a focus on advancing STEM skills and capabilities, supporting workforce training opportunities in accordance with the needs of local and regional employers, and/or enhancing manufacturing capacities within the region;
  • Benefit distressed communities by linking these communities to larger, more vibrant regional economies, including rural-urban linkages;
  • Present a clear plan for collaborating with and assisting other EDA investment partners, recipients, and stakeholders, including Economic Development Districts (EDDs) and Indian Tribes;
  • Encompass regional, Statewide, and multi-State programs, and create synergies within EDA’s Public Works, Economic Adjustment Assistance, and Partnership Planning programs;
  • Offer services within a well-defined geographic region in the States and territories covered by the Chicago and Philadelphia Regional Offices, and provide a full range of economic development research and technical assistance services to EDA regional partners; and
  • Tailor services to the region’s needs and each sponsoring institution’s (or consortium’s) strengths. 

For more information about EDA's investment priorities, see the following link:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184087

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Each participating region has generally made 8 to 10 awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Annual awards for the University Centers selected in past years generally have been in the range of $80,000 to $200,000 each.

Term of Contract:

Awards will have an initial funding period of twelve months (as part of a five-year period of performance) with an estimated start date on or about September 1, 2021.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

An accredited institution of higher education, including a community college or junior college, or a consortium of accredited institutions of higher education is eligible to apply for and to receive funding under the University Center Economic Development Program. See section 3(12) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. § 3122(12)) and 13 C.F.R. § 300.3. A university-affiliated research institution also is eligible to apply for and to receive funding under this NOFO, provided it demonstrates (e.g., through a letter or other documentation from the university president or chancellor) that it maintains the full and integral support of the university with respect to its economic development activities. For applicants applying as a consortium, one accredited institution of higher education must be identified as the lead applicant that would have primary responsibility to EDA and to the other members of the consortium for implementing an award. An organization that is affiliated with and directed by an accredited institution of higher education and that is in good standing may partner with an accredited institution of higher education or consortium to participate in a proposed project.

Pre-Application Information:

The closing date for receipt of applications for funding under the FY 2021 University Center Economic Development Program competition is June 4, 2021. The closing time for all applications submitted electronically via ( is 11:59 p.m. ET (10:59 p.m. CT) on June 4, 2021.

Pre-Submission Registration:
- Obtain a DUNS Number
• 1-2 Business Days
- Obtain an EIN
• 10 Business Days
- Register with SAM
• 7-10 Business Days
- Create a Username and Password
• Same Day
- Authorize the AOR
• Same Day (depending on your organization's EBiz POC)
- Track AOR Status
• Same Day

Subject to the availability of funding, successful applicants should expect to receive awards within approximately 75 calendar days from the application closing date and times set out in this NOFO.

Generally, the amount of an EDA award may not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Projects may receive an additional amount that may not exceed up to 30 percent of the total project cost, based on the relative needs of the Region in which the project will be located, as determined by EDA.

EDA strongly encourages applicants to consult with the appropriate EDA representative listed in Contact Information below to discuss whether their project is in alignment with the requirements outlined in this NOFO.

More information:

View this opportunity on

For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (click Preview) at the link above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Philadelphia Regional Office
FY 2021 University Center Program Competition
Economic Development Administration
Philadelphia Regional Office
900 Market Street, Room 602
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Designated Contact: Chivas Grannum,

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Connecticut;   Delaware;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New York City;   New York;   Ohio;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin

USA Territories: Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)

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