Regional Economics Applications Laboratory is a research center at the University of Illinois (USA) focusing on the development of theories and quantitative tools to model urban, regional and interregional economic systems. REAL provides timely, high quality analytical economic information for a variety of uses such as public policy decision making by public sector agencies and for strategic marketing in the private sector. REAL's capabilities revolve around comprehensive state and metropolitan models that integrate econometric and input-output analysis to provide for both impact and forecasting analyses.

EU-REAL is a research net integrated by European scholars linked to REAL as former students or visitors. Like REAL, the EU-REAL focuses on the development and use of analytical models for urban and regional forecasting and economic development. The EU-REAL "mafia" get together once a year for the EU-REAL seminars. This seminars provide a great opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas between colleagues.


In January of 1989, the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) was created as a cooperative venture between the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the University of Illinois focusing on the development and use of analytical models for urban and regional economic development. Philip Israilevich (FED Chicago) and Geoffrey J.D. Hewings (UIUC) were the founders of this non-for-profit Laboratory housed within the Institute for Government and Public Affairs in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An announcement of the new lab can be found here. The joint venture lasted until 2001.

The Laboratory is staffed by professionals drawn from personnel of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and several graduate research assistants from several departments including Agricultural and Consumer Economics, Economics, and Urban and Regional Planning.

In 2016, after 27 years as REAL's Director, Geoffrey J.D. Hewings passed on the leadership of the laboratory to Sandy Dall'erba, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.

To learn more, go to REAL's Wikipedia page.


After more than 25 years, REAL has created a vast network of alumni and visiting scholars around the world. This means that the extension of the REAL's "mafia" covers the entire globe and, as a consequence, two subnetworks of the original REAL were born: The EU-REAL and, the asian partner, the China-REAL.