Developing strategies to address rural challenges and opportunities
Research and Innovation
Research and innovation are central to the Rural Center’s work. They ground our understanding of where rural North Carolina is today and what it can become in the future.
To provide state and local leaders accurate information on which to base their decisions, the center collects and analyzes data from a range of national and state sources. The online Rural Data Bank gives you easy access to much of that information. You may view standard reports – county or small town profiles, for example – or use the custom search function to compile a report on data you specify.
Each year the center identifies specific issues for in-depth exploration by center staff, who work in concert with local, state, and national experts on research initiatives. Current initiatives include research on the potential for homegrown philanthropy to assist communities in addressing economic development priorities and an investigation into the barriers that prevent people and communities from breaking out of the cycle of poverty.
To ensure that its research results in practical solutions, the center chooses strategies that hold particular promise for rural development and tests them at sites throughout the state. These tests of economic innovations are carried out with partners in a range of community settings. The center favors models with the potential of replication in other rural communities.
Jason Gray, Director of Research and Innovation
N.C. Rural Economic Development Center
4021 Carya Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610