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Grants fund UA research initiative to aid economy

Courtesy of the UA Eller College of ManagementGeorge W. Hammond, director of the Economic and Business Research Center in the Eller College of Management, led the way in developing the white paper proposal through the Making Action Possible Dashboard. This research initiative seeks to provide Southern Arizona with credible information and guidance on local economic issues in partnership with the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the UA.

Courtesy of the UA Eller College of Management

George W. Hammond, director of the Economic and Business Research Center in the Eller College of Management, led the way in developing the white paper proposal through the Making Action Possible Dashboard. This research initiative seeks to provide Southern Arizona with credible information and guidance on local economic issues in partnership with the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the UA.

The UA’s Eller College of Management, through the Economic and Business Research Center, is increasing efforts to provide professional research, opinions and solutions to socioeconomic issues throughout Southern Arizona. The recent drive to expand information takes the form of financial grants for “white paper proposals,” which are being requested from all UA faculty members.

The call for proposals comes from the Making Action Possible Dashboard, a research initiative that seeks to provide Southern Arizona with credible information and guidance on local economic issues. The MAP Dashboard is also a partnership between the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the UA.

The white paper proposal is an approach that seeks to combine a broad public appeal with specialized academic knowledge.

“A white paper is a thing which lays out, in detail, the background of an important socioeconomic problem or issue,” said George Hammond, director of the EBRC.

The goal is to identify an issue, such as high rates of recidivism or faltering school budgets, and provide reliable economic information that sets a pathway toward addressing the issue.

According to the call for proposals issued by the EBRC, the MAP Dashboard will provide up to five grants of $7,500 for proposals from all UA faculty members. Each white paper needs to be between 7,500 and 10,000 words and accompanied with graphics, charts and other illustrations “as needed.” Students can also help co-author the proposals, which are due to the EBRC by May 4.

“Our mission is to provide Arizona business leaders, policymakers and citizens with socioeconomic data analysis that can help improve decision-making,” Hammond said.

In terms of delivering this data, he stressed the importance of keeping economic information both accessible and meaningful, which is one of the primary goals of the MAP Dashboard.

A plethora of socioeconomic data on geographies throughout Arizona and the U.S. — including local budgets, job growth, business startups, graduation rates, housing costs, government investment and consumer spending — is shown across the screen in an array of interactive graphs, charts and figures. 

“The core database that underpins this has over 10,000 time series” or data measurements, Hammond said. All of this data reflects research into six broad socioeconomic categories: economy, education, health and social well-being, infrastructure, quality of place, and workforce and demographics.

As for what specific issues the MAP Dashboard wants faculty members to address, Hammond said “it’s an open call.” There isn’t any preference for a specific issue or topic for the white paper proposals to be centered on.

“There’s information on the Dashboard website about major economic indicators,” he said. “But other than that, we’re just interested to see what the faculty submits for proposals. It’s a pretty open field.”

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