Austin, TX – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named four winners of its fifth annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards. The winners — Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Montana State University and Purdue University — competed in four different categories that recognize different components of economic engagement. The categories are talent, innovation, place and connections. The winners of the awards, which honor public universities actively engaged in and promoting regional economic development, were announced at the APLU Annual Meeting now underway in Austin, Texas.
“Economic engagement is a central component of public universities’ work,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Public institutions are working to advance economic opportunity and drive prosperity in their communities. The IEP Award winners have established themselves as exemplary institutions in this space, and we applaud their important leadership.”
Economic engagement efforts include universities working with public and private sector partners in their states and regions to support economic development through a variety of activities – innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development, and community development.
2016 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awardees:
“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 Economic Development and Community Engagement 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.”
The IEP University Awards recognize specific emphases in these areas. The “Talent” award honors an institution with exemplary initiatives in education and workforce development; the “Innovation” award honors an institution demonstrating outstanding work in technology transfer, entrepreneurship, and business development; the “Place” award recognizes a university that is excelling in community, social, and cultural development work; and the “Connections” category recognizes the institution that is doing the most to build connections between all categories of economic engagement — innovation and entrepreneurship, talent development, and social, community, and cultural development.
To be eligible for an award, an institution must first earn the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from APLU. To receive that designation universities conduct a self-study of their economic engagement activities that includes input from external stakeholders. As part of the self-study, each institution identified areas for growth and improvement within its 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.
Applications for the designations were scored by a panel of independent reviewers representing other universities and also national partners. 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. Overall, 55 institutions have been named IEP Universities designees since the program was launched in 2012.
There were six finalists for the 2016 IEP Awards. In addition to the four winners, finalists included the Iowa State University and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.