APLU created the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards program to recognize universities that are leaders in spurring and promoting regional economic development. Participating institutions complete a rigorous self-study process and earn the IEP designation if enough benchmarks are met. Those who earn the designation are then eligible to apply for the IEP Awards, which are given in the categories of Talent, Innovation, Place, and Connections.
More than 50 universities have received the designation. Those who then apply for the awards submit three case studies on their efforts, which can be found in the IEP Universities Library.