The Indiana Communities Institute addresses the modern challenges of economic development through community-based strategies for sustainable growth.  Although our efforts focus on strengthening communities throughout Indiana, this strategy serves as a model for university economic development efforts across the nation. We're focused on improving the quality of life in communities through our Primacy of Place initiative.

The research-policy-practice framework allows the Indiana Communities Institute to tap into talent and resources from research and outreach units across campus and across the state. Our partnerships lead to informed, effective projects, strategies, and training programs that bring development efforts into the 21st century.


The Indiana Communities Institute strives to lead an economic transition among Indiana communities from an economy based primarily on physical capital toward an economy based more heavily on human capital.

Research: We work with the Center for Business and Economic Research to create and disseminate knowledge to public policy makers, thought leaders, and influencers. This knowledge addresses material changes in the factors that influence the economic performance of communities and how they impact the state’s economic prospects. Much of this analysis is 

Policy: We influence community economic development policy makers at local, regional, and state levels by emphasizing the development, retention, and attraction of human capital and by emphasizing the role of placemaking in pursuit of higher levels of economic performance. Our partnership with the national Rural Policy Research Institute led to the creation of the RUPRI Center for State Policy at Ball State.

Practice: We engage with economic development stakeholders at community, regional, state, and national levels to aid in formulating and executing strategic, tactical approaches designed to improve economic prospects based on sound policy development and research findings.


Our vision is two-pronged:

  • To establish Ball State University as the undisputed leader in community economic development among institutions of higher learning in Indiana.
  • To establish Ball State University as a model for university economic development engagement at the national level.


Research-Policy-Practice Framework