Anchor Institutions in the Permian Basin

In partnership with IC² and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, our graduate student team worked with The University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) to develop targeted economic development strategies to drive UTPB’s engagement in the Permian Basin region. Through community and institutional assessments and stakeholder roundtable discussions, a variety of actionable strategies were presented to mobilize the resources and influence of UTPB to better serve the region. By leveraging UTPB as an anchoring institution, we expect internal changes and external investments to reap benefits for itself in terms of resilience and growth for the Permian Basin as a whole.

Anchor institutions include universities, hospitals, municipal governments, corporations, and cultural organizations.[1] Their unique connectivity to the local region provides them with opportunities to leverage resources, in partnership with community stakeholders, to develop shared value. Anchors can lead collaboration and coalition building, in order to address key social and economic issues within their region. UTPB can serve as an anchor institution for the Permian Basin through its scale and resources as a developer of community, workforce, and real estate.

Stepping into our role as a partner with UTPB, we established a plan to evaluate the impact that the oil-based boom and bust cycle has on the local economy, especially in relation to housing and employment. The unique results of that boom and bust cycle helped determine which sectors of the local economy are successful, unsuccessful, and ripe for further investment. So too does the unique history of UTPB impact the position that it occupies in the region, vis-à-vis other colleges, large employers, and local entrepreneurs. Understanding these dynamics helped us to frame our stakeholder engagement and eventually produce the results necessary to formulate an action plan for UTPB that is narrowly tailored, actionable, and equitable.

The University of Texas Permian Basin has initiated concrete steps to continue to grow as a hub and connector for the region’s engagement, enrichment, and innovation. Our team made specific recommendations centered around 5 key areas: (1) Emerging Industries, (2) Innovation, Research, & Commercialization, (3) Healthcare, (4) UTPB Campus Experience, and (5) Faculty Recruitment & Retention. In making specific recommendations, our goals were to position UTPB as a community hub and connector, to accelerate the Permian Basin’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, and to facilitate a regional “Grow Your Own” educational and training pipeline. These recommendations will be guided by the project’s vision statement during strategy implementation:  The University of Texas Permian Basin will be a hub and connector for the region’s engagement, enrichment, and innovation.

Our team is excited about UTPB’s commitment to the Permian Basin and their support in leveraging the strategy recommendations to innovate and build upon the work of a variety of community stakeholders in the Basin. We look forward to seeing UTPB’s commitment come to life in the coming years.

[1] ICIC. “Anchor Initiatives.” Accessed May 9, 2022.

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