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UW-Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty named national Poverty Research Center

September 19, 2016 By Käri Knutson

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, $9.5 million cooperative agreement to serve as the national Poverty Research Center.

The award 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 (DHHS) on development of policy and legislation, strategic planning, policy research and evaluation, and economic analysis, comes as IRP marks its 50th year of examining the causes of poverty and inequality in the United States and approaches to reduce them. The award establishes IRP as the nation’s sole federally funded Poverty Research Center, an honor that IRP has shared with the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis, and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality for the past five years.


Rebecca Blank

Chancellor Rebecca Blank

“I am pleased and proud that ASPE chose to continue its important poverty research program with IRP in the lead,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, a longtime IRP affiliate. “IRP has contributed a great deal to our understanding of poverty and related policy during its 50 years at the university, creating a cadre of researchers spread across the nation and the globe, helping make poverty and social policy research truly interdisciplinary, and maintaining a strong link with the policy world. IRP affiliates’ research has influenced social policy in the state, nation, and beyond. ASPE’s vote of confidence in IRP confirms the importance of these contributions and high expectations for future innovation and success.”

IRP’s research, training, and dissemination activities focus on producing and promoting evidimgresence to increase the effectiveness of public policies to reduce poverty and inequality and their consequences. To fulfill this mission, IRP has established the Collaborative of U.S. Poverty Centers (CUSPC), which represents a sustainable, nationwide infrastructure to facilitate the exchange of applied poverty-policy research ideas and findings among the nation’s top scholars, policymakers, and policy practitioners. Its inaugural partners in this endeavor include the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, the Center on Race and Wealth at Howard University, the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, and the University of Washington West Coast Poverty Center.

“We are grateful for ASPE’s ongoing confidence in our work, especially given the outstanding research centers competing for the award,” says IRP Director Lawrence Berger. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with ASPE, other federal agencies, and our CUSPC partners, as well as other poverty research centers such as those at Davis, Michigan, and Stanford, in producing and using research evidence to improve the lives of Americans who are struggling to get by.”