Effectively engaging higher education resources for community is economic development is critical to success in the fourth economy. Earlier this year, the Fourth Economy team was hired by the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) to help the organization advance its strategic mission – a mission to leverage higher education and enhance our national competitiveness.
UEDA announced its 2012 Awards of Excellence winners during its Annual Summit held this October in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Awards of Excellence Program recognizes UEDA members who are transforming their campuses into engines of economic prosperity through leading edge initiatives in five categories: 1) Community Connected Campus: initiatives that promote the physical development of quality connected campuses and their surrounding communities; 2) Research and Analysis: initiatives that enhance the capacity of colleges and universities to provide new forms of research and tools for community, economic and workforce development practitioners; 3) Leadership and Collaboration: initiatives that support the development of collaborative economic development strategies and the leaders required to implement them; 4) Innovation and Entrepreneurship: initiatives designed to support startups, high-growth companies and clusters within a region; and 5) Talent Development: initiatives that promote the development of 21st-century skills.
The 2012 UEDA Awards of Excellence projects and winners are:
Community Connected Campus Category
“Kemper Military School Redevelopment Project”
submitted by University of Missouri University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UCIE)
The University of Missouri developed an innovative proposal for the historic, largely abandoned Kemper Military School, Boonville, Mo., repurposing it as an open source campus, maintaining its historic character while bringing jobs, students and economic activity to Boonville. The University facilitated town hall meetings, assisted in visioning and initiated discussions with higher education executives. As a result, State Fair Community College (SFCC), Sedalia, Mo., began offering classes on campus this semester. More than 50 jobs were created, portions of the campus saved from destruction and Boonville has a full-service junior college. After SFCC committed, the city received numerous complementary project proposals involving the campus.
Research and Analysis Category
“Sustainable Economies Program”
submitted by Iowa State University, CIRAS
The Sustainable Economies Program at the Center for Industrial Research and Service (a unit of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach) provides Regional Trade Centers (RTCs) in rural Iowa with an in-depth economic assessment of their financial, social, and environmental well-being. This program helps identify and target opportunities for sustainable growth within RTCs and their economic drivers. The program provides sustainability assessments, technical assistance, and mentoring to critical organizations and businesses in the region that will drive the area’s economy. The Sustainable Economies Program staff specialists work with the region’s stakeholders to ensure the new concepts and strategic plans are implemented and gain the necessary momentum for success.
Leadership and Collaboration Category
“Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network (KOIN)”
submitted by Kansas State University / Advanced Manufacturing Institute
The Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network (KOIN) is being developed by the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Kansas State University. KOIN is an opportunity catalyst, boundary spanner, and connector for rural and/or distressed Kansas companies, communities, and regions wishing to compete in regional, national, and global markets with innovative technology-based goods and services. KOIN is developing and employing innovative concepts/elements such as needs-based profiling/clustering, innovation assessments, opportunity scouting, boundary spanning, open innovation, design thinking, incubation, regional competitiveness, social networking, innovation network development, IT-based strategies, and innovative information visualization approaches.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
“Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization (LIINC)”
submitted by West Virginia University
Launched in 2011, Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization (LIINC) has connected 113 representatives from 76 companies from across the U.S. to meet 174 WVU faculty and 26 graduate students to explore novel commercialization opportunities and avenues for future research. LIINC activities have helped increase the likelihood for research funding opportunities, licensing of technologies, SBIR and STTR partnerships, on-campus patent activity, new opportunities for students and graduates, and jobs in the research and commercialization sectors. LIINC is a new WVU vehicle for advancing research-based innovation and commercialization efforts and the university’s economic impact on the state and the region.
“Developing Analytics & Operations Research Practitioners”
submitted by Lehigh University – Enterprise Systems Center and Industrial & Systems Engineering Department
There is an increasing emphasis in business literature and C-suite attention that managing “big data” is a growing 21st-century skill needed to support high-growth businesses. This proposal describes a strategy to help focus the Lehigh University ISE department on excellence in analytics and operations research through an endorsement by faculty and industry advisory board votes and an outreach to the Enterprise Systems Center to provide close industry linkage and mentoring by seasoned industry executives. The powerful combination of academic excellence with real world experience and thesis/capstone projects based on real data and real problems results in an unparalleled student experience.
The 2012 UEDA Awards of Excellence included an inaugural award for the top-project selected out of all winners. “The Judges’ Award” recognized the best of the best, as the marquee example of university-based economic development. This year’s Judges’ Award winning project was “Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network (KOIN)” submitted by Kansas State University / Advanced Manufacturing Institute.
Nominations for the 2013 Awards of Excellence program will begin in spring 2013.
How the Award Process Works
Colleges and universities nominate their initiatives for a UEDA Award for Excellence over the Web. The UEDA Awards Team selects three to five finalists in each category based on award criteria. The finalists make presentations to the UEDA membership at the annual meeting. UEDA members vote on the final awards. Awards are presented at the annual Summit. The 2013 UEDA Summit will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 27to 30.
The University Economic Development Association (UEDA) is managed by Fourth Economy Consulting who provides administrative, strategic planning, and policy development services. Established in 1976, UEDA is the cornerstone membership organization representing higher education, private sector and community economic development stakeholders. The Association works to expand economic opportunity in our communities by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development, and technology commercialization.