The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) is pleased to announce a new research fellowship opportunity in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Fed recently launched the Anchor Economy Initiative to examine the economic impacts of anchor institutions, specifically hospitals and higher education institutions, on regional economies. The research fellow will support this work to advance knowledge around the impact of anchor institutions on regional economic and community development.

“CUMU members are inextricably linked to the communities they serve as place-based institutions,” said Valerie Holton, executive director, CUMU. “The outcomes of this research fellowship will not only benefit CUMU members as they advance their anchor missions but will help the field by highlighting best practices in economic and community development.”

This fellowship is a unique opportunity for researchers from CUMU member institutions to have a platform to advance scholarship leveraging the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Anchor Economy Dashboard. The digital tool shows anchor impacts for the entire U.S. by region and a new reliance index, demonstrating how dependent regional economies are on these institutions. Data are available for 524 multi-county regions. A research report coauthored by Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker details the data and begins to explore the economic significance of anchor institutions in regions across the country.

“Anchor institutions are often among the largest employers in a region, but we had limited data on their regional economic impacts,” said Deborah Diamond, director of Anchor Economy Initiative at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. “The Anchor Economy Dashboard brings this information together in one place so that we could better understand the role hospitals and higher education institutions play in strengthening regional economies and supporting job growth that includes everyone.”

One research fellow will be selected by a panel of reviewers and will receive an award of $5,000 to pursue the identified research question(s) and submit a research brief/report to the Philadelphia Fed and CUMU. Optional deliverables include a journal article to be submitted to Metropolitan Universities Journal or a similar journal, and/or a CUMU-Anchor Economy webinar and/or conference presentation where the research results will be shared and discussed.

Proposals must be from a faculty member, staff, post-doc, or graduate student from a CUMU member institution. Submissions from cross-institutional or cross-sectoral teams will be considered if the lead applicant is from a CUMU member institution.

Proposals accepted until January 6, 2023. The selected fellow will be announced by January 27, 2023. Final submission of the research report must be published by August 31, 2023. CUMU members interested in learning more about the research fellowship should direct all questions to CUMU Executive Director Valerie Holton at


About CUMU

The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) is the longest-running and largest organization committed to serving and connecting urban and metropolitan universities. CUMU focuses on strengthening institutions that are developing new responses to the pressing educational, economic, and social issues of the day. CUMU was formed in 1989 by leaders of metropolitan and urban institutions who realized their unique challenges and opportunities as they looked to the future of higher education. Today, CUMU is dedicated to its member institutions and to the creation and dissemination of knowledge on the issues that face our urban and metropolitan campuses and the communities we serve.

About the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Anchor Economy Initiative

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve’s mission is to promote a healthy economy and a stable financial system. The Anchor Economy Initiative supports this mission by examining how hospitals and higher education institutions impact regional economies and how these sectors can support equitable job growth and community development.