As part of its ongoing effort to help member institutions magnify their economic impact, APLU recently announced finalists for its 2015 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards. In this final installment in a three-part series, APLU spotlights Auburn University and Ohio University, finalists in the “Place” IEP Awards category, for excelling in community, social, and cultural development work.
Auburn University is an APLU Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Award finalist for economic engagement in its community. Three Auburn initiatives illustrate the university’s place-focused economic development and community engagement. The Auburn University Rural Studio, established in 1993, is aimed at providing hands-on experience in architectural education. The National Poultry Technology Center, meanwhile, works directly with farmers to resolve engineering issues and optimize the quantity and quality of their products. Finally, the off-bottom oyster farming initiative at the Auburn University Shellfish Lab is training commercial oyster farmers in aquaculture practices. Together, these initiatives work to expand Alabama’s competitive advantages in these fields and reinforce community engagement and economic development.
Ohio University proved a pioneer in economic engagement when it created its Innovation Center (IC) in 1983. The IC is a business incubator that has helped establish nearly 100 companies, which have generated over 1,000 jobs. The IC offers budding entrepreneurs the state-of-the-art office space and training and mentoring they need to see their business concepts through to implementation.
Ohio University has expanded economic development efforts and recently announced its Innovation Strategy Investment Program, which will invest roughly $5 million annually to faculty who are advancing the university’s innovation strategy.