Researchers say a higher education college and more leisure facilities are needed to ensure a Cumbrian town has a vibrant future.
Plans are to provide higher education courses in the town
Regeneration company West Lakes Renaissance says the American research found more needs to be done to stem the drain of young people from Barrow.
It says that is needed to provide a workforce for new industries.
West Lakes Renaissance say they need to attract people to stay in the area as well as moving into it.
Mike Baker, from West Lakes Renaissance, said they would be looking at existing education providers offering higher education courses rather than building a university.
One of the models is Carlisle, where the provision of higher education courses has boosted the economy.
Mr Baker said addressing the 'brain drain' was a crucial issue.
He said: "I think it is vitally important. I think we are now seeing the results of a demographic change - the end of a baby boom. There are now less people below the age of 40 and more people over.
"Businesses are having to think very carefully about where they are in order to recruit the people they want to employ.
"And people are getting wise to that and saying 'I want to live where I want to live you come here' and businesses are going to have to, increasingly in the future, move to where people want to live."
Barrow sixth from student Rachel Ennis is planning to go to Newcastle to study at Northumbria University but says if courses had been available in Barrow she would have seriously considered staying.
She said: "I think it was the job prospects in Barrow that persuaded me to move away."