In 1999 a group of local government authorities, regional development boards and Charles Sturt University got together to discuss the problem of getting access to affordable, reliable, high quality economic research to inform regional development priorities, and help regions argue to government for support. At the time, Charles Sturt University operated a 'Regional Economic Research Unit'. Following discussions with our community, it was agreed that this Unit could provide the core of an independent not-for-profit corporation to provide economic research across the regions. The Western Research Institute was born from this collaboration, providing cost-effective economic research for regional industry, local government and regional development bodies. The University not only offered its economic unit as the core of this new Institute, it offered accommodation, use of University services and provided millions of dollars in seed funding over its first decade to ensure it would become a self-sustaining and independent public research body. WRI is now a self-sustaining not-for-profit business supplying high quality economic, labour market and other studies that help promote regional development and inbound investment. The University continues to collaborate closely with the Institute through senior level representation on its Board of Directors, and as a customer of its highly regarded research services.
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