CLOSUP's third core component, in addition to its research, information provision, and teaching activities, is its public service function. As a research Center, the primary public service function is to make available to the public the results of state, local, and urban policy research being done at the University in a useful, accessible format. At the same time, it is important that University researchers have easy and regular access to policymakers in the field, and that policymakers are regularly and meaningfully involved in the research process. Through formal and informal interactions, these policymakers can help researchers identify important policy problems and serve as experts on the details of particular policies. U of M researchers can produce knowledge that helps policymakers better address the pressing state, local, and urban policy issues of our day.
CLOSUP facilitates the interaction between researchers and policymakers in several ways. One way is to sponsor public sessions, as part of the interdisciplinary collaborative research projects, which bring together academics, policymakers, and the media. These sessions provide a forum for researchers to present their work to a broader, non-academic audience, and for policymakers and the media to discuss the studies directly with the projects' researchers. The sessions also create channels of communication by which policymakers and the media can learn about researchers' ongoing policy interests, and by which researchers can obtain valuable feedback from policy makers in the field.
CLOSUP also makes research results available to the public by publishing and disseminating reports and non-technical executive summaries of CLOSUP's sponsored research projects. These summaries are disseminated to state and local government officials, government agencies, news organizations, interest groups, and research institutes. In addition, CLOSUP makes reports and research summaries, as well as working papers and published reports, available to a national and even international audience through its web site.