University of Wisconsin–Madison

Message from the Director

Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger
Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger

May 1, 2018

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to our new website! It has been a very busy 18 months since I last wrote. I have provided some quick highlights below. Explore our website to find out more about the important and exciting work happening at IRP.

  • As the sole National Poverty Research Center, we continue to partner closely with ASPE to host events, provide training, disseminate research findings through our IRP resources, and expand our research
  • In partnership with the JPB Foundation, we are engaging in a new initiative to expand our extramural re-grants program to include (1) 1- to 2-year grants for researcher-practitioner partnerships committed to analyzing existing program, administrative, and other data to inform policy and program effectiveness; and (2) annual professional development and mentoring for promising poverty scholars from underrepresented racial and ethnic populations. Look for grant announcements in summer 2018.
  • We are excited to launch our new initiative with Schmidt Futures, a venture facility for the public benefit. Schmidt Futures is funding four Universities including UW–Madison to produce innovative ideas for promoting shared prosperity and increasing American competitiveness. The specific goal is to increase net income by 10% for 10,000 families in Dane County. To meet this challenge, IRP will engage Dane County’s community, business, government, and no-profit networks along with UW–Madison faculty, students and staff to develop proposals through community-university collaborations.
  • With the help of our U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers partners, we continue to facilitate five thematic Research Networks.
  • We are training more emerging scholars and graduate students than ever through a range of initiatives (see our Training page). I am especially proud of our partnership with Howard University’s Center on Race and Wealth to conduct an annual week-long Summer Dissertation Proposal Workshop for Ph.D. students in the social sciences who are members of underrepresented racial and ethnic populations. Our 2017 inaugural workshop was a great success and we are looking forward to our 2018 workshop this May.
  • In partnership with the CPC and co-organized with the West Coast Poverty Center at the University of Washington and our Poverty and Geography Network, we hosted our inaugural Poverty Research and Policy Forum on the Geography of Opportunity. Plans are already underway for our 2018 Forum, which we are co-organizing with the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis.

In addition, we continue to expand our research offerings and produce the resources and events on which you’ve come to rely. Keep an eye out for an updated look and format to our products as we are in the process of redesigning many of them.

Before I leave you to your web searching, I want to thank Jennifer Noyes, IRP’s former Associate Director for Programs and Management, for her many contributions to IRP over the years, and welcome Hilary Shager, our new Associate Director for Programs and Management, who began in March and has already hit the ground running.

On behalf of everyone at IRP, thank you for your continued support and partnership.


Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger