The Department announced on September 30th, 2005, $1.4 million in cooperative agreements to support continued research and evaluation of important and emerging social policy issues associated with the nature, causes, correlates, and effects of income dynamics, poverty, individual and family functioning, and child well-being. The three grantees for the area centers are the University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of Kentucky, and University of Washington.
On June 20, 2005, ASPE announced the availability of funds for area poverty research centers. The announcement continued ASPEs longstanding support of poverty centers and marked the continuation of a recent ASPE poverty research initiative the Area Poverty Research Center. These centers will focus on issues of regional or state interest in order to enhance further the understanding of the nature, causes, correlates, and effects of poverty, and programs and policies to ameliorate it.
ASPE also continues its program of support for a National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan which plans and conducts a broad program of policy research and mentoring of emerging scholars to describe and analyze national, regional, and state environments (e.g., economics, demographics) and policies affecting the poor, particularly those families with children who are poor or at-risk of being poor. This research and evaluation program focuses on important and emerging social policy issues associated with the nature, causes, correlates, and effects of income dynamics, poverty, individual and family functioning, and child well-being.
The new area research center cooperative agreements are going to qualified institutions to provide a focused agenda expanding our understanding of the causes, consequences, and effects of poverty in local geographic areas or specific substantive areas, especially in states or regional areas of high concentrations of poverty.
University of Wisconsin-Madison: Area Poverty Research Center
The Institute for Research on Povertys (IRP) Area Poverty Research Center will focus its agenda on the Midwestern states. The primary focus will be on innovations in state and local anti-poverty programs, development of locally relevant data sources, qualitative research on the institutional and administrative aspects of program design, state welfare issues, and a strengthening of the Midwest Peer Assistance Welfare Network (WELPAN). The dissemination strategy consists of primarily web-based publications, but will build on an extensive circulation and recognition of the Institutes existing newsletter, FOCUS. The center will provide support, training and mentoring to graduate research fellows each year covered by the cooperative agreement and encourage students to pursue graduate degrees in poverty-related fields by increasing the visibility of these issues in various curricula.
University of Kentucky: Kentucky Center for Poverty Research
The University of Kentucky continues an interdisciplinary area center with a research focus on Kentucky and the South. A focused research agenda on the causes, consequences, and effects of poverty and its correlates in this region is critical, because 1) poverty and income inequality are more pronounced in the South than the nation as a whole, 2) cash welfare and food stamp utilization is likewise higher in the South, and 3) labor market opportunities are weaker in this region relative to the nation. Institutional resources at the university include a community of poverty scholars, social and behavioral science programs, and numerous research centers and institutes. An internal executive committee and national advisory committee will guide the long-term direction of the center. To foster additional research, the center will support a competitive internal grants program, a regional small grants competition, and a seminar series. Mentoring activities will include an emerging scholars program to support young, untenured poverty scholars; a dissertation fellowship program; research assistantships for graduate and undergraduate students; and courses on poverty issues. Dissemination will be conducted through a web page, working paper series, quarterly regional written policy briefs, and on-site policy briefings at annual meetings of policymakers.
University of Washington: West Coast Poverty Research Center
The University of Washington will create the West Coast Poverty Research Center (WCPRC) to advance knowledge about the causes and consequences of poverty and about effective policy responses to poverty in the states and communities in the West Coast. The initial three-year research agenda for the WCPRC will focus research activities on the economic and social well-being of families within the contexts of both changing labor markets and transformations in the organization of family life. The Center will focus on the West Coast (i.e. the states of Washington, Oregon, and California) as an area of regional interest and as a site for advancing nationally significant knowledge about poverty and public policy. The Center will focus on cross-cutting substantive annual research themes. For year 1, the proposed theme is: The Second Generation: Economic and Social Well-being Among Children of Immigrants. The WCPRC will work to encourage the incorporation of subject matter related to poverty and social policy in graduate and undergraduate education, and increase the visibility of poverty issues through dissemination, outreach, and educational activities involving academics, policymakers and practitioners.
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