In 1997, a well-known study of the St Louis region – called the Peirce Report – concluded that one of the region’s most valuable assets – its colleges and universities – were an underused and under-contributing factor in community improvement. But a decade later, a unique alliance of three of the region’s leading research institutions – The Department of Public Policy Studies (SLU), the Public Policy Research Center (UMSL), and the Institute for Urban Research (SIUE) – has been formed to create a data clearinghouse and research organization that can bring significant resource to community improvement in St. Louis.
Named the Applied Research Collaborative – or ARC – it works with local governments and nonprofits. Its efforts to provide access to, and analysis of, valuable databases can help planners and decision-makers:
- Save time tracking down relevant data sets
- Provide scope and context for data and research findings
- Present and analyze local and regional trend data
- Document need for specific community services
- Focus community investment
- Evaluate program options
- Assess program effectiveness
The Applied Research Collaborative provides a “one-stop-shop” that consolidates data from a variety of sources. In so doing, ARC promises to make a variety of community improvement efforts more informed, better planned, and easier to implement.