APLU Announces Designation of 14 Institutions as Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities

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July 10, 2014 -- In recognition of a strong commitment to economic engagement, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today designated 14 public institutions as 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 14 institutions that comprise the second annual class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities are: Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, North Carolina State University, The Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, the University of Illinois, the University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and Wayne State University.

“Public universities serve as economic engines for their local communities and states by conducting cutting edge research to reach new breakthroughs, and by developing the talent to help existing businesses grow stronger and enabling new ones to develop and thrive,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “The 14 institutions receiving the 2014 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University designation serve as models. They demonstrate how public research universities extend beyond their campuses to engage their communities in economic development that creates jobs and improves 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 local and regional economic development using the CICEP “Economic Engagement Framework” (http://www.aplu.org/CICEPFramework). The framework includes tools for university self-assessment, metrics determination, and economic impact analysis.

“Institutions engaging in the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities designation program have an opportunity to work with the CICEP Framework to identify both institutional accomplishments in innovation and economic development, and also areas for growth and improvement,” said Jim Woodell, APLU Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Technology Policy. “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.”

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.

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 University Economic Development Association, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the National Association of System Heads, and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. 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 2014 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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