Research University Satellite Campus Study

ClientMaryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission
LocationMontgomery County, MD


Promoting Economic Development by Recruiting Research Institutions.

Client Goals:

Montgomery County, through a joint effort with the Montgomery County Planning Department (Planning) and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), sought a white paper to advance foundational thinking on the role a research university (or universities) could play in the economic development of the County and what types of public and private investments might be required to support this initiative. The County hoped to understand issues such as the motivations of research institutions who establish satellite campuses, the physical layout and requirements of these campuses, and the role government played in their founding.

Hayat Brown Role: 

As a subcontractor to Bolan Smart Associates, Hayat Brown team members identified an initial list of over 60 research universities based on feedback from the County, review of the largest funding recipients from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), largest research and development expenditures as identified by the National Science Foundation, The Best Colleges Top 10 Satellite Campuses, and recommendations from Montgomery County’s project team.

This list of candidate case studies was reduced to 22 institutions based on a set of initial evaluation criteria and in collaboration with the County, such as having an established satellite campus in a major metropolitan area with a graduate-level curriculum offered and recognition as a research and development institution. The list was further reduced to eight institutions based on additional evaluation criteria in collaboration with the County, including the locations with similar life science economies and the types of partnership, research opportunities, and incubator / accelerator programs available.


Our team investigated each of the eight selected institutions, analyzing trends and key features that might enable success for a satellite institution in Montgomery County, including: background context; drivers for additional campus; process and administration; investment; curriculum; partnerships; campus; notable features and takeaways.

Project Outcomes: 

The County continues to explore recruitment of a university branch campus or research center to the County and its potential for bolstering economic development. They have joined our research with a report on the potential of an enhanced University System of Maryland presence in Montgomery County and staff have begun to engage in discussions with non-Maryland universities.