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The Center offers a variety of services and specializes in the areas of energy, policy, education and health.

CBER at Marshall University was established in 1994 to enhance regional economic development endeavors. CBER began by providing services to and support for the business community through leveraging expertise within the Lewis College of Business. In 1998, CBER merged with the Applied Research Division at Marshall University, adding additional researchers and expertise.

CBER left the College of Business in 2004, becoming a subsidiary of the Marshall University Research Corporation (MURC), a 501(C)(3) organization established by Marshall University to administer externally funded projects. In 2011, CBER became part of the Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute (RTI). Over its nearly two decades of service, CBER has grown from a small center with only two full-time staff members to include a staff of 15 researchers and associates.