Kevin Boatright
Office of Research

KU’s commitment to economic development earns national recognition

Wed, 06/24/2015

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas has earned a prestigious distinction for its leadership in fostering local and regional economic development. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) announced today that KU has been named to its 2015 class of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities. KU is one of only 18 institutions nationwide chosen this year, joining just 30 others selected since the program began in 2013.

According to the APLU, “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.” The APLU designation is valid for 10 years.

“This is a significant national recognition for the University of Kansas,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, “especially for the researchers whose discoveries and new technologies have such a profound economic impact. This designation confirms once again that KU’s economic development mission is strong, active and growing for the benefit of Kansas and the world.”

The APLU designation followed a thorough self-study that included extensive regional stakeholder input. The application then went through a rigorous independent review process. 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.

In addition to KU, this year’s class of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities includes Auburn University, Alabama; Binghamton University, New York; Clemson University, South Carolina; East Carolina University, North Carolina; and Mississippi State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Mexico State University, Ohio University, Southern Illinois University, University of Arizona, University of Louisville, University of Maryland, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of New Mexico, University of South Florida, Utah State University, and Western University in Ontario, Canada.

“Through its teaching, research and service, KU is a leading contributor to economic development in Kansas,” said Julie Nagel, interim associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship and president of KU Innovation and Collaboration, the university’s bi-campus technology commercialization, corporate partnership and entrepreneurship office. “Now, this designation showcases us in front of an influential national and international audience. It also challenges us to continue our efforts and contribute even more to the betterment of society.”

APLU President Peter McPherson said, “Public universities serve as economic engines for their local communities and states by conducting cutting-edge research to reach new breakthroughs and developing the talent to help existing businesses grow stronger and enabling new ones to develop and thrive.

“The 18 institutions in the 2015 class serve as wonderful models of how public research universities extend beyond their campuses to engage their communities in economic development that create jobs and improve lives,” he said.

Members of the steering committee that led the application process were Julie Nagel; David Cook, vice chancellor, KU Edwards Campus; Joseph Heppert, associate vice chancellor for research; Rodolfo Torres, associate vice chancellor for research; G.R. Underwood, president, Bioscience & Technology Business Center; Joe Monaco, director of strategic communications, Office of Public Affairs; and KU Innovation and Collaboration staff members Rebecca Peterson, director of research collaborations; Rajiv Kulkarni, director of technology commercialization; Patricia Bergman, director of strategic partnerships; and Julie Murray, director of corporate and community engagement, KU Innovation and Collaboration and the School of Business.

KU is a member of APLU, a higher education association that represents 238 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and related organizations. It is the nation’s oldest such association, with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Combined, APLU members enroll 6.1 million students, confer 1.2 million degrees annually, employ 1.4 million faculty and staff, and conduct $41.4 billion in research.

See KU's application here.

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