University of Wisconsin: UW–Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty named national research center

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the nation’s longest-standing center for poverty research, has been awarded a five-year, $10.6 million cooperative agreement to serve as the National Research Center on Poverty and Economic Mobility.

The award comes from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), the principal advisor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on development of policy and legislation, strategic planning, policy research and evaluation, and economic analysis. It takes effect Oct,. 1, 2021.

Katherine Magnuson

“We look forward to supporting and diversifying the corps of poverty researchers working on questions related to equity, inclusion, diversity and access in economic mobility and human services policy,” says Katherine Magnuson, IRP director and the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Social Work. “The last few years have been particularly challenging for underserved communities and individuals. We are committed to working collaboratively with ASPE and our other partners, and to put actionable findings and data into the hands of federal agencies to inform policymaking and improve policies and services for those in need, especially those who are marginalized in our country.”

The agreement funds projects and programs designed to improve the effectiveness of public policies that reduce poverty, inequality, and their consequences, promote economic mobility and equity, and further develop knowledge of the structural causes of poverty, inequality and economic insecurity. In the next five years, IRP will work closely with the other ten institutions in the Collaborative of U.S. Poverty Centers (CPC), which represents a sustainable, nationwide infrastructure to facilitate the exchange of applied poverty policy research ideas and findings among the nation’s scholars, policymakers, and policy practitioners.

All programs will prioritize building a pipeline of scholars from historically underrepresented groups and supporting their research. Key elements of the new five-year agreement are fellowships that provide training and mentoring as well as financial support; grants to support research on poverty and economic mobility; annual training workshops for scholars at all stages of their careers; and dissemination of cutting-edge research to a variety of audiences, including federal and state policymakers.

UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, a longtime IRP affiliate, offered her congratulations. “I’m proud to be an affiliate of this organization dedicated to understanding and combating poverty and inequality. Fulfilling the promise of the Wisconsin Idea, IRP helps a variety of UW–Madison researchers reach beyond the boundaries of our campus to address real-world problems. Under this new agreement, we will continue to be a national leader in these areas, advancing research and building expertise among scholars and policymakers alike.”

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