New Research and Development Partnership Launches in Dubuque

Project is a collaboration between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, University of Wisconsin-Extension and the City of Dubuque

AMES, Iowa ― A unique, new partnership in Dubuque, Iowa, hopes to strengthen development efforts in the area, as well as share successful strategies with other communities across Iowa and Wisconsin to support more sustainable economies.

The Dubuque Institute for Sustainable Communities and Economic Development is a collaboration between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, University of Wisconsin-Extension and the City of Dubuque. The institute will focus on issues important to the greater Dubuque regional economy and successful strategies that can be replicated in other communities across both states.

“Building this unique partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the City of Dubuque is very much in line with Extension and Outreach’s mission to build partnerships and provide learning opportunities to improve quality of life” noted Tim Borich, program director, ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development. “This will be a unique undertaking for the universities and there is no better place for it than Dubuque, given the community’s track record in building a strong regional economy and its level of engagement on sustainable development.”

The institute and its faculty and staff will be located in the historic Roshek Building, which is owned by a local not-for-profit, Dubuque Initiatives, and is the first LEED Platinum Historic Rehabilitation project in Iowa. Staff will research the area’s successful history of regional development, strategies for addressing new challenges within the region and share the learning and results with other communities. It is expected that the institute will be established and staffed by this fall.

“Dubuque is honored to be a part of this pioneering collaboration and to host the institute staff and offices,” Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol said. “Sustainable growth is key to our Sustainable Dubuque goals of economic prosperity, environmental integrity and social/cultural vibrancy. We look forward to working with current and future institute partners to improve the Dubuque economy and develop models for other communities.”

Part of the creation and location of the institute includes new university positions based out of Dubuque, including a full-time joint ISU/UW-Extension faculty position funded and supported by both organizations and intended to serve shared needs related to community leadership development and extension programs in both Iowa and Wisconsin, with a focus on regional development and leadership; a full-time specialist, with a focus on economic development; a part-time specialist, with a focus on community development and finance; and student and graduate internships in conjunction with the two institutions.

The institute staff will work with regional universities, colleges and other academic institutions in both states, as well as extension and colleges within the two universities. Faculty and staff will look for other regional, national or international institutions to conduct research within Dubuque and support collaboration with private sector businesses and organizations in the community.

“We are excited by the multiple opportunities for partnering that the institute will be able to take advantage of in Dubuque,” added Tom Blewett, program director for Community, Natural Resources and Economic Development, University of Wisconsin-Extension. “The strong local colleges and universities, a highly engaged private sector and extensive existing research efforts on community sustainability are all great assets. These partnerships will be a great way to extend knowledge and application beyond our traditional campuses and into Wisconsin and Iowa communities.”

The institute will initially focus on a broad range of activities, including research-based case studies, market analyses, educational program implementation, research and education, and sustainability studies. These activities will be aimed at looking at historic, current and future efforts to address specific issues; aiding the public, private and non-profit sectors with training and strategies; investigating methods for successful growth and sustainability; and identifying best practices for other communities.

“Dubuque has worked hard over the last several decades and we are now blessed with one of the most successful regional economies in the country,” said Rick Dickinson, president of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation. “Having two world class education and research institutions like Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Extension recognize the community’s efforts and join us to expand and replicate these successes is a great opportunity for this region.”


David Lyons, project manager, Smarter Sustainable Dubuque, 563-564-7232,