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APLU Names Four Public Research Universities Winners of 2015 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards

Indianapolis, IN – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named winners of its fourth annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards. The winners — Clemson University, the University of Minnesota, Auburn University and the University of Maryland — competed in four different categories that recognize different components of economic engagement. The categories are talent, innovation, place and connections. The awards, which honor public universities actively engaged in and promoting regional economic development, were awarded on the final day of the APLU Annual Meeting now underway in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Each of the four winners have demonstrated an institution-wide commitment to economic engagement and have delivered on that commitment by spurring economic development in their communities,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “APLU applauds their work and is happy to spotlight these universities as models of economic engagement.”

2015 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awardees:

  • The Talent category winner, Clemson University, has fueled workforce development in the auto industry through partnerships with leading auto industry organizations, and through its University Professional Internship and Co-op Program helped nearly 850 students gain internship experience in a variety of fields, many connected to university faculty partnerships with business and industry.
  • In the Innovation category, the University of Minnesota System took the prize for Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) initiative, which has helped catalyze the launch of a record 16 startups in 2015, bringing its total to 86 since 2006. The University of Minnesota also demonstrated how research and innovation are fueling entrepreneurship and building resilient communities.
  • The Place category winner was Auburn University. The University’s Rural Studio, established in 1993, provides hands-on experience in architectural education and at the same time improves living conditions in western rural Alabama. Auburn is also working to sustain its community by strengthening the live chicken production industry and by fostering the growth of the emergent oyster industry.
  • The University of Maryland garnered the top award, in the Connections category. The university has partnered with Northrop Grumman to create the Advanced Cybersecurity Experiences for Students, cementing its place at the vanguard of one of the most strategically important fields of the 21st century. Through its Live, Learn, and Earn in Greater College Park initiative, the university is tying their leading talent development efforts to research and innovation, and to community building.

“APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity works closely with universities to advance their economic engagement efforts so they can achieve the greatest impact,” said Jim Woodell, Vice President for Innovation & Technology Policy at APLU. “That’s why we developed CICEP’s Economic Engagement Framework, which provides tools for university self-assessment, metrics determination, and economic impact analysis. These tools serve as the basis for university efforts to achieve the APLU designation of ‘Innovation and Economic Prosperity University,” and to compete for these awards.”

There were six finalists for the 2015 IEP Awards. In addition to the four winners, finalists included the University of Illinois System and Ohio University.

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