UT designated as Innovation and Economic Prosperity University

October 25, 2013 | News, Research, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo is one of 16 public institutions in the nation recognized by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) for strong commitment to economic engagement.

apluThe designation as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University acknowledges schools 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 work force development, and community development.

“The health and viability of Toledo and the region are inextricably linked to The University of Toledo,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said. “UT is proud to be a good community partner to support the growth and prosperity of Toledo and northwest Ohio.”

“The APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation and awards program has enabled universities to shine a spotlight on the work they’re doing, both internally on their campuses and externally with their communities, to promote economic engagement — and to demonstrate more clearly with government and the private sector the public benefit of universities,” said Douglas Banks, associate vice president for economic development at UMass and co-chair of the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program.

“Unlike a more traditional competition, this process led the universities to work together and learn from one another — sharing tools, tips and techniques for promoting strengths and tackling areas of improvement. A learning community was created that has led to a stronger grasp of why university economic engagement matters.”

In addition to UT, the institutions in the inaugural class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities are Boise State University, California State University at Fresno, Northern Illinois University, Ohio State University, State University of New York, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati, University of Georgia, University of Idaho, University of Memphis, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Oklahoma and Washington State University.

Applicants for the new Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation conducted a self-study developed by the APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity and solicited input from external stakeholders. The applications were scored by a panel of 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.

Among UT’s positive contributions noted were the commitment of the president to economic development in the region, local talent development, and its technology transfer and commercialization program.

The designation reflects the University’s broad contributions to the regional economy and particularly the leadership shown by UT in working with community partners in developing a shared vision to move the region forward as a vibrant innovation-based community. The merger of UT with the former Medical University of Ohio, the growth of research programs, the technology transfer contributions of its research centers, the faculty work on community challenges, and its arts and humanities contributions have made the institution a stronger force to contribute to positive economic change in the region.

Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president for government relations, noted the participation of community leaders in the preparation of the documentation for APLU that led to this designation.

“In preparing our submission, we are very grateful to the many local government and community leaders who gave us their time to provide candid comments on how UT contributes to regional innovation and prosperity and ways we can work together for a more prosperous community,” Calzonetti said.

“We’re helping to provide tools to universities to help them become even more economically engaged with their communities, which is a core value of public institutions,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “Universities are economic engines that not only directly employ people, but also generate research-based innovation and technical expertise that allow businesses to start up, grow and thrive. This designation recognizes universities that are really stepping up to strengthen their local economy.”

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