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New PSU research centers will study homelessness, technology

Portland State President Rahmat Shoureshi said the university will ultimately spend $3 million, allocating $500,000 per year for three years toward getting each research center started.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland State University is starting two new research centers designed to help urban centers with their biggest challenges. Portland will be the first and primary city to benefit from the research.

That was part of the message delivered Monday by Portland State President Rahmat Shoureshi in a packed meeting room on campus. The university will ultimately spend $3 million, allocating $500,000 per year for three years toward getting each research center started.

The PSU Homeless Research and Action Collaborative will study the roots of homelessness and find solutions to share with Portland and other cities.

“Addressing homelessness has to be an all-hands-on-deck effort. I’m energized that PSU is making this important investment,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

The PSU Digital Testbed Center will explore how technology can be used to better cities, from traffic solutions to communications to environmental sustainability.

"These centers are going to be the shining examples of PSU's commitment to have knowledge serve the city and serve our global community," Shoureshi said.

The $3 million comes from Portland State, with at least in part coming from donors. The centers will develop funding to grow long term, through grants and other resources. The expectation is the return on investment will be a benefit to urban areas that face unique challenges and opportunities.