Funded by a $485,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the study will cover the 54 Kentucky counties classified as "Appalachian" by Congress for service from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The counties include "a few hundred economic development organizations," ranging from entirely governmental to civic groups to nonprofits to entirely private entities.
The study's principal investigator is Wally Ferrier, an endowed associate professor of strategic management in UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics. The co-PIs are Evelyn Knight, a professor in the College of Public Health and former director of UK's Appalachian Center, and Steve Borgatti, an endowed chair of management in the college an internationally recognized researcher of business networks "We are particularly interested in how EDOs can collaborate with each other to help them derive the maximum from their operations," Borgatti said. Other researchers on the project represent the colleges of education and social work, the Department of Sociology and the Department of Community and Leadership Development in the College of Agriculture.
"Throughout the duration of the study the research team is committed to building a set of enduring partnerships between members of the Appalachian economic development community and the university," the release says. "At the study's end, the researchers hope to develop a series of conferences, webinars, and workshops where they can share their research findings in a way that is relevant, timely, and actionable." (Read more)