Association for University
Business and Economic Research

A national association of regional
economic research centers

New Member Profile: Idaho Policy Institute

From housing and homelessness to zoos and nuclear reactors, Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute has completed more than 40 research projects across Idaho and grown to 12 staff members since it opened three years ago.

Last year after attending the Salt Lake City Conference, the Idaho Policy Institute joined AUBER.

Housed in Boise State’s School of Public Service, the Institute works with public, private, and nonprofit groups throughout Idaho to conduct research and present data that allows for evidence-based decision making. Along with Greg Hill, the Institute’s executive director, Vanessa Fry, research director, helped start the Institute.

A number of projects are keeping Fry (and the Institute) busy, including:

  • a five-year contract to track student achievement and evaluate programs in Idaho’s charter schools,
  • a study examining the long-term outcomes of children in Idaho’s foster care system,
  • studies on affordable housing and homelessness,
  • an annual statewide survey on Idaho’s economy,
  • projects involving transportation infrastructure and revenue sources for the state of Idaho,
  • a study to examine installing a small modular nuclear reactor in Idaho Falls.

In addition to ongoing projects, the Idaho Policy Institute teaches a capstone class to Master of Public Administration students, works with computer science students to create tools to better analyze Census data, and has created several interactive dashboards to keep on top of statewide and county-level economic and demographic trends.

The Idaho Policy Institute is serving a critically important need in Idaho, says Corey Cook, Boise State University’s School of Public Service’s founding dean.

“The success and growth of IPI far exceeds my wildest expectations, which is fully due to the outstanding staff of the institute their well-earned reputation for unbiased, objective, and exemplary work,” Cook said.

Joining AUBER has been a good fit for the Idaho Policy Institute, according to Research Director Vanessa Fry.

“When I went to the Salt Lake City conference, I was impressed with the presentations I saw and the people I met,” Fry said. “Being able to collaborate with other AUBER centers across that nation that do similar regional economics work in their states has been super helpful.”

Communicating through the AUBER listserv, an email list for the AUBER community,  has also been a benefit, Fry said, “The listserv have given me the opportunity to learn about the innovative projects all the AUBER centers are engaged in. This has helped me connect with colleagues across the country conducting similar research as IPI.”

Caption: Since the Idaho Policy Institute opened in 2016, it has grown to 12 employees. Pictured third from left is Vanessa Fry, the Institute’s research director. On her right is Executive Director Greg Hill.


January 7, 2020

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