Bruce Balfour

  • PhD Rural Sociology
Bruce Balfour
111 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802-5600

Areas of Expertise

  • Arts-based Community and Economic Development
  • Arts Business Incubators
  • Rural Development
  • Civic Engagement
  • Social Network Analysis

Connect with Bruce Balfour



  1. MPS, Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania State University
  2. BA, Science Journalism, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Balfour, B., & Alter, T. (2016). Mapping Community Innovation: Using Social Network Analysis to Map the Interactional Field, Identify Facilitators, and Foster Community Growth. Community Development 47(4), 431-448. doi: 10.1080/15575330.2016.1153493

Balfour, B., Fortunato, M., & Alter, T. (2016). The Creative Fire: An Interactional Framework for Rural Arts-Based Development. Journal of Rural Studies. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.11.002

Balfour, B., & Alter, T. (2017). Community Development Online: A Review of Computer-Mediated Versus Face-to-Face Interactions, Commitment, and Group Identity for Civic Engagement and Collaboration. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra: Australia.

Balfour, B. & Alter, T. "Arts-Based Community Development and Democracy," Kettering Foundation Research Exchange, February 2016.

Balfour, B. & Alter, T. "Developing Rural Communities with Arts Centers and Incubators," 2015 Annual Meeting, Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network (TARRN), Pennsylvania State University, May 18, 2015.

Balfour, B. & Alter, T. "Developing Rural Communities with Arts Centers and Incubators," Development and Culture: Why Art? Why Now? public seminar, Cornell University, April 21, 2015.

Balfour, B. & Alter, T. “Strengthening Rural Communities and Democracy through Arts-Based Development,” Annual Kettering Foundation Research Exchange, November 20, 2014.


Prior to joining Penn State, Bruce was employed by Sandia National Laboratories in California, where he was founder and president of the i-GATE Innovation Hub (iHub) in Livermore, California and its NEST small business technology incubator. Bruce worked with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to develop the Innovation Hub strategy for the State of California, and served on Governor Schwarzenegger’s review committee for the iHub program. For this successful effort, he received numerous community development and innovation awards from Governor Schwarzenegger, the California State Assembly, US Congress, the Federal Laboratory Consortium, the Alliance for Innovation, and the International Economic Development Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the North Bay Innovation Hub and the SoCo Nexus technology business incubator in Sonoma County, California. Prior to Sandia, Bruce worked in partnership and business development positions for NASA, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and was Director of Business and Product Development for Pearson Education in San Francisco. In his spare time, Bruce is also a bestselling novelist, photographer, and metal sculptor.