Pitt finalist in APLU Innovation & Economic Prosperity awards

Pitt has been named one of six finalists for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ eighth annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards.

The awards are broken into three categories. Pitt and Mississippi State University are finalists for the Place award for exemplary initiatives resulting in social, cultural or community development. The other two categories and nominees are:

Talent award: California State University, Northridge, and Purdue University, for exemplary initiatives in education and workforce development.

Innovation award: University of Memphis and Iowa State University, for exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development.

All six universities are finalists for the IEP Economic Engagement Connections award, which is the top prize in the competition, recognizing overall excellence and leveraging across all three award categories.

“We applaud this year’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards finalists for their exceptional contributions to regional economic engagement,” APLU President Peter McPherson said in a news release. “As the country looks to recover from one of the steepest economic downturns on record, universities will have to play a central role in helping drive innovation, spark growth, and foster broadly shared prosperity. The IEP Award finalists are in a strong position to do exactly that.”

In the news release, APLU cited Pitt’s work in Homewood as “a centerpiece of its place-based community and economic engagement strategy.” It singled out the 20,000-square-foot Community Engagement Center and associated programs at the Manufacturing Assistance Center, BioShelter, and K12 outreach.

“Building on long-standing involvement in Homewood by various faculty and schools, Pitt made a long-term institutional commitment to partner the breadth of its engagement assets, across all 16 schools and various business units, with community-based partners to pursue impact and opportunities for the residents of Homewood for the next 25 years,” the news release said.

To be eligible for an IEP award, an institution must first earn the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from APLU, which recognizes institutional commitment to regional economic development. To earn the IEP designation, universities conduct a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement activities that includes input from external stakeholders. 

Sixty-six institutions have been named IEP Universities since the program was launched in 2012.