About Us

The Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (formerly Community Service Center) at the University of Oregon is an interdisciplinary institute that assists Oregon communities by providing planning and technical assistance to help solve local issues and improve the quality of life for Oregon residents. The role of the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE) is to link the skills, expertise, and innovation of higher education with the economic development and environmental needs of communities and regions in the State of Oregon, thereby providing service to Oregon and learning opportunities to the students involved.

Through IPRE programs, students gain important service and professional experience by helping to solve community and regional in addition to establishing relationships and strengthening partnerships between faculty and students on Oregon university campuses, community representatives, state and local agencies, and non-profit organizations.

IPRE includes four core programs:

  1. Community Planning Workshop
  2. Resource Assistance for Rural Environments
  3. Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience
  4. Economic Development Administration University Center

These core programs provide:

  • Community service coordination
  • Technical assistance
  • Problem solving
  • Connections with state and federal agencies
  • Training
  • Applied research

With an average of nine years of planning/public policy experience serving Oregon communities and regions, our professional staff practitioners provide key insights and direct experience that complements the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management’s academic programs.

Our History

IPRE’s programs have expanded their reach, breadth, and depth over 40 years.

In 1973, then-UO faculty member David Povey envisioned a program that linked higher education with local communities to solve pressing community problems. The first project evaluated the impacts if Senate Bill 100 — Oregon’s innovative land use law — was not passed. The result of that evaluation was a report, “Activities of Statewide Significance,” developed by six students and Povey. Since then, we have grown to engage more than 120 students each year in more than 170 projects statewide. In 2011, our projects engaged 4,924 community members, provided 1,018 training hours to community members, presented 241 times at community meetings, engaged 125 students, and completed 174 projects for 53 Oregon cities and 34 counties.