APLU names six public research universities as finalists for 2018 Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities Awards


The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named six public research institutions as finalists for its sixth annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards.

The winners will be announced at the association’s annual meeting, which will be held Nov. 11-13 in New Orleans, La. The finalists — Colorado State University, Iowa State University, Montana State University, The University of New Mexico, North Carolina State University and the University of Pittsburgh — are competing for four different award categories that recognize different components of university economic engagement:

  • Colorado State University and North Carolina State University are finalists for the IEP Talent award, recognizing exemplary initiatives in education and workforce development.
  • Iowa State University and the University of Pittsburgh are finalists for the IEP Innovation award, recognizing exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development.
  • Montana State University and The University of New Mexico are finalists for the IEP Placeaward for exemplary initiatives resulting in social, cultural, or community development.
  • The IEP Economic Engagement Connections award is the top prize in the awards competition, recognizing overall excellence and leveraging across all three award categories. All six category finalists are contenders for the Connections award.

As described in APLU’s Economic Engagement Framework, a series of tools and publications that helps institutions plan, assess, and communicate their work in economic engagement, universities collaborate with their public and private sector partners in their states and regions to promote economic growth, competitiveness and opportunity through a variety of efforts across the aforementioned categories.

“We applaud this year’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards finalists for their exceptional contributions to regional economic engagement,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Economic development and community engagement cut to the heart of public universities’ mission to advance the communities they serve. We’re delighted to spotlight the work of the finalists so other institutions can build upon the example they have set.”

To be eligible for an IEP award, an institution must first earn the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from APLU.  To receive that designation, universities conduct a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement activities that includes input from external stakeholders. As part of the self-study, each institution identifies 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. Sixty-four institutions have been named IEP Universities designees since the program was launched in 2012.

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