The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named the University of Houston, University of Massachusetts Boston, Georgia Institute of Technology and North Carolina State University recipients of its second annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards. The recognitions, which honor public universities actively engaged in and promoting regional economic development, were given during a special awards ceremony on the final day of the 127th APLU Annual Meeting underway in Orlando, Florida.
The IEP awards recognize efforts of member 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.
“These four institutions have each demonstrated a clear commitment to economic engagement and have followed through by delivering results,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “APLU applauds them and looks forward to sharing their good work as a resource for all public research universities to expand their economic engagement activities and help grow their regional economies.”
“APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity works closely with universities to further develop and advance their economic engagement activities to help ensure they have the deepest impact,” said Jim Woodell, assistant vice president for innovation and technology policy at APLU. “That’s why we developed the CICEP Economic Engagement Framework, which provides tools for universities to identify both institutional accomplishments in innovation and economic development, and also areas for growth and improvement. Using one or more of the tools as part of their self-study, universities assess where they are and where they and their regions are headed.”
The awards are a complementary program to APLU’s IEP Universities Designation program. The association designated 14 universities as IEP Universities in 2014. All Innovation & Economic Prosperity University designees, including the award finalists, 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. As part of their self-study, universities also identify areas for growth and improvement. This work demonstrates a commitment to continuous learning and improvement in this kind of engagement vital to universities and their regional partners.
There were eight finalists for the 2014 IEP awards. In addition to the winners, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Illinois, and Virginia Tech were in the final competition for the awards.