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2023 IEP Designee – University of Connecticut

UConn Leading Connecticut Forward

While much of the country and world recognize UConn for its athletic success, Connecticut’s flagship, land grant, sea grant university is also a world-class research institution with a profound effect on the state’s innovation capital, workforce, and economy. We are honored that the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU) has recognized UConn’s impact with the designation as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University.

We are grateful for the self-study process that challenged UConn to consider our achievements and identify areas to strengthen contributions to Connecticut’s economic prosperity. We will improve how we talk about our economic story, consider how to encourage our faculty’s engagement and bolster their innovation resources, and broaden our regional economic development partnerships. So, to work in the direction of one of our growth points – how we tell the story of our impact – let us tell you about the deep connection between Connecticut and its university.

UConn’s economic impact on the state is estimated at $6.9 billion, with $320 million in state and local taxes. The University supports almost 32,000 jobs and has a labor income estimated at more than $3 billion. UConn’s direct workforce across its main Storrs campus, regional campuses, and UConn Health in Farmington exceeds 12,000 positions.

UConn is central to efforts across Connecticut and the region to shift toward an economy and innovation capital based on the enormous potential of clean energy and sustainability. UConn’s history in clean energy extends back from the early 20th century, with faculty and researchers involved in everything from the Apollo 11 moon landing to the first White House solar panels. UConn President Radenka Maric leads by example as a world-renowned researcher in clean energy and sustainability. President Maric has pledged that UConn will be carbon neutral by 2030 and the campus is transforming to fulfill that promise. New buildings are being constructed using best practices in conservation and efficiency, including the brand new, 198,000-square-foot Science 1 building.

And our innovation opportunities are always growing. Since submitting our IEP application, UConn has succeeded in earning a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Engines Development award for a project called “Quantum-CT,” aimed to position Connecticut as the nation’s leading accelerator of quantum technologies. The award funds a two-year development effort for UConn and its partners to compete for an NSF Engines award of up to $160 million over 10 years. Quantum technologies are poised to influence hundreds of applications impacting many of Connecticut’s key manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure industries. With our partner, Yale University, UConn has put together a leadership team that spans an expansive coalition of public, private, and state officials – all representing entities which stand to benefit from innovation and economic prosperity spurred through quantum technology translation.

In recent months, UConn has also expanded our footprint in the city of Waterbury, home to one of our regional campuses and an institution that serves a largely Hispanic population. UConn has leased space in a historic building adjacent to campus and will be collocated with City offices and other tenants as we continue to strengthen our presence and partnerships in the Naugatuck Valley. UConn’s space will house clinical and research dry and wet laboratories, maker space, an incubator/venture studio, clinical simulation and learning laboratories. These resources will be utilized by nursing, allied health, psychological sciences, urban and community studies, business, community partners, and other majors and programs such as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. This campus development is one of many partnerships and collaborations that UConn has built in recent years as we have deepened ties in the community, including our support of the Waterbury Promise scholarship program, and establishing and growing the allied health sciences major on the campus.

From UConn’s history to its future, it is our commitment – and pleasure – to engage across the state and with its residents as we work to make a difference in Connecticut, for Connecticut. We are grateful to APLU and the IEP application process for the framework to consider our successes as well as our opportunities, and for the culmination of this effort to be the honored designation of an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University.

By Pamir Alpay, UConn interim Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

  • IEP

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