Institute for Research on Poverty receives federal funding

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at UW–Madison, which includes several La Follette School faculty members as affiliates, has been awarded a five-year, $10.6 million cooperative agreement to serve as the national Poverty Research Center.

The agreement funds projects and programs designed to improve the effectiveness of public policies that reduce poverty, inequality, and their consequences, promote economic mobility and equity, and further develop knowledge of the structural causes of poverty, inequality, and economic insecurity. It is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and takes effect Oct. 1, 2021.

In the next five years, IRP will work closely with the other 10 institutions in the Collaborative of U.S. Poverty Centers (CPC), which represents a sustainable, nationwide infrastructure to facilitate the exchange of applied poverty policy research ideas and findings among the nation’s scholars, policymakers, and policy practitioners.

All programs will prioritize building a pipeline of scholars from historically underrepresented groups and supporting their research. Key elements are fellowships that provide training and mentoring as well as financial support; grants to support research on poverty and economic mobility; annual training workshops for scholars at all stages of their careers; and dissemination of cutting-edge research to a variety of audiences, including federal and state policymakers.

Four La Follette School faculty and emeritus faculty previously led IRP: Bob Haveman (1971-1975), Barbara Wolfe (1994-2000), Maria Cancian (2004-2008), and Tim Smeeding (2009-2014). Professor Katherine Magnuson, IRP’s director since 2019, is a faculty affiliate of the La Follette School. Hilary Shager (MPA ’04, PhD ’12), the La Follette School’s former associate director, is IRP’s associate director for programs and management.