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Projects & Initiatives
Jim Woodell, Ph.D.
Vice President for Economic Development and Community Engagement


Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities

APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) established the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities Program to recognize institutions who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to economic and community development. The IEP Universities program helps institutions to codify, elevate and advance their economic engagement enterprise which encompasses the many and varied ways universities work with their public-private partners to carry out:

  • Talent and workforce development
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship and technology-based economic development
  • Place development through public and community engagement

More than 60 institutions have earned this distinguished international recognition. IEP Universities complete a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement enterprise that allows them to inventory their true societal and economic impact while identifying strengths and areas of improvement in economic engagement. They exchange ideas and best practices with peers around North America, and strengthen their overall ecosystem supporting economic prosperity.

Once designation, the institution enters a vibrant national community of practice. Designated institutions are often times called upon to participate in special opportunities and events including national and international speaking engagements, tours of federal agencies/national organizations and other initiatives undertaken by APLU and partner organizations to advance and elevate the profile university economic engagement across North America and around the world.

Institutions pursuing the designation as well as designated institutions are highly encouraged to attend the annual IEP Universities workshop which takes place at each CICEP Summer Meeting. Engagement opportunities are also planned during each APLU Annual Meeting.

Read the IEP Universities Program flier for more information. Questions regarding the IEP universities program should be addressed to the IEP Universities Program Manager Shalin Jyotishi at

Connect with us on Twitter and share your IEP University story - @APLUEngagement -- #IEPUniversities 

Learn more about the IEP Universities Program:

  • Pursuing the IEP University Designation

    The first step to formally begin your pursuit of the IEP University designation is to review the guidelines which include full details on deadlines, process, timeline and more. APLU members must have the institution’s president or chancellor must send a formal letter of intent to pursue the designation directed to APLU's President. A template of the letter will be provided to you. Non-APLU members must submit their letter of intent to the University Economic Development Association (learn more about APLU's IEP partnership with UEDA). Full details regarding the designation application process, timeline and guidelines can be found on the IEP Universities Submission Process and Guidelines webpage.

  • Applying for the IEP University Awards
    An institution must first earn the IEP University designation in order to be eligible for the awards competition. IEP University Awards are given annually in the categories of Talent, Innovation and Place as well as the top-prize Economic Engagement Connections Award. Awardees are recognized during a special ceremony during the APLU Annual Meeting where they receive a commemorative plaque, along with a certificate, and a logo that can be used in the university’s print materials and websites to promote the institution’s honor. Full details regarding the award application process can be found on the IEP Universities Submission Process and Guidelines webpage.
  • Conduct Research & Scholarship around IEP Universities
    Conduct research around IEP: APLU encourages scholarship and research around the IEP Universities program. Students and scholars have won grants to conduct research on IEP, leveraged the IEP data corpus to write doctoral dissertations and are working with APLU to bolster the research portfolio around IEP and economic engagement. Interested individuals or organizations should contact Shalin Jyotishi at for further information.
  • IEP Universities Program for non-APLU Campuses
    Participate in the IEP Universities program through UEDA: APLU has partnered with the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) to enable UEDA member campuses who are not members of APLU to participate in the IEP Universities Program. All institutions of higher education ranging from private research universities to community colleges are eligible to participate. Questions regarding IEP Universities access for UEDA members may be addressed to UEDA's Tim Hindes at Tim.hindes@universityeda.orgLearn more on UEDA's website. View the overview video.

2017 IEP Universities Program Overview Webinar

Follow #IEPUniversities on Twitter