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APLU Announces Designation of 18 Institutions in the 2015 Class of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities

Washington, DC – In recognition of a strong commitment to economic engagement, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today designated 18 public institutions in the 2015 class of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities. The designation acknowledges universities working with public and private sector partners in their states and regions to support economic development through a variety of activities, including innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development, and community development. Each university received the designation after conducting a thorough self-review with outside stakeholder input and subsequently submitting an application that went through a rigorous independent review process.

The 18 institutions that comprise the third annual class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities are: Auburn University; Binghamton University; Clemson University; East Carolina University; Mississippi State University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; New Mexico State University; Ohio University; Southern Illinois University; University of Arizona; University of Kansas; University of Louisville; University of Maryland; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of New Mexico; University of South Florida; Utah State University; and Western University.

“Public universities serve as economic engines for their local communities and states by conducting cutting edge research to reach new breakthroughs and developing the talent to help existing businesses grow stronger and enabling new ones to develop and thrive,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “The 18 institutions in the 2015 class of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities serve as wonderful models of how public research universities extend beyond their campuses to engage their communities in economic development that create jobs and improve lives.”

APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) is continuing to lead efforts to help public universities plan, assess, and communicate their work in regional, national, and global economic development using the CICEP “Economic Engagement Framework” (/CICEPFramework). The framework includes tools for university self-assessment, metrics determination, and economic impact analysis.

“The 2015 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designees demonstrate how institutions can conduct honest self-assessments to recognize strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities as they work to advance economic engagement activities throughout their communities,” said Jim Woodell, APLU Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Technology Policy. “APLU’s CICEP Framework has become a critical tool for universities seeking to strengthen their economic engagement activities and we are pleased to showcase these 18 public universities that are helping to lead the way.”

The 18 new Innovation & Economic Prosperity University designees conducted an institutional self-study and solicited input from external stakeholders. Each university designee identified three areas of institutional strength in economic engagement and described programs in these areas. Designees also identified areas for growth and improvement for their university’s economic engagement enterprise, and developed an improvement plan. This work demonstrated a commitment to continuous learning and improvement in this kind of engagement vital to universities and their regional partners.

The 30 institutions designated in 2013 and 2014 have reported significant advancement of their efforts due to the stakeholder engagement and self-study efforts undertaken in conjunction with the program. Universities are leveraging their status as Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities to identify new areas of opportunity in aligning with economic development objectives. They are developing deeper engagement with others in their regional innovation ecosystems, and making changes within the institution to expand their impact.

Applications for the designation were scored by a panel of reviewers representing other universities and also national partners, including the Association of University Research Parks, the Association of University Technology Managers, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Business Higher Education Forum, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Innovosource, the Lemelson Foundation, the University Economic Development Association, the National Association of System Heads, and VentureWell. Scoring was based on a range of criteria emphasizing universities’ development of their economic engagement enterprise, their planning efforts around economic engagement, strategic communications around these efforts, and participation in encouraging economic engagement among peer institutions.

Each of the IEP designated institutions now qualifies to submit an application for APLU’s 2015 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards, which will be given out at the association’s annual meeting in November. The awards include an “IEP Connections” award, recognizing the university that is doing the most to build connections between categories of economic engagement — innovation and entrepreneurship, talent development, and social, community, and cultural development. “Best in class” awards will also be given in each category of talent, innovation, and place.

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