The 2013 Awards of Excellence nomination deadline has passed. Stay tuned for an announcement of the selected finalists.
The New Engines of Economic Prosperity
Members of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) are transforming their campuses into engines of economic prosperity. The UEDA Awards accelerate this process by recognizing leading edge initiatives and encouraging their adoption among UEDA members. Colleges and universities make five major contributions to the economies they serve:
- They develop high quality, connected campuses that become entrepreneurial hotspots and magnets for new people and businesses.
- They support networks of researchers, entrepreneurs, high-growth businesses, and regional innovation clusters.
- They support the sophisticated strategies and collaborative leadership needed to link, leverage and align the many assets within a regional economy.
- They provide leading edge research and analytic tools to enable civic leaders to understand their economy and make decisions quickly to promote collaborative investments.
- They develop talent with the 21st-century skills needed to support high-growth businesses.
On April 18, we conducted a webinar featuring the awards process, judging criteria, and past award recipients. The archived webinar is below, along with other resources referenced in the video.
How the Award Process Works
Colleges and Universities submit their leading edge initiatives to UEDA where the members consider and vote on the awards. The process works as follows. Colleges and universities nominate their initiatives for a UEDA Award of Excellence over the Web. The Awards of Excellence categories are described in the next section. Entrants must designate a category most appropriate for each entry. However, the UEDA Awards of Excellence Committee may reassign an entry to another category. The decision of the Awards Committee as to the category most appropriate for an entry will be final. The UEDA Awards Committee selects up to three finalists in each category based on award criteria described later in this brochure. The finalists make 15-minute presentations to the participants at the UEDA Annual Summit in Pittsburgh, October 27-29, 2013. The UEDA Summit participants vote to determine the Award winners. The Awards Committee has the option of choosing an overall UEDA Award of Excellence from the category winners. UEDA will present the Awards of Excellence at the Awards Banquet at the UEDA Annual Summit. A representative of the winning applicant’s institution must be present to accept the Award.
This category focuses on the physical development of high quality, connected campuses and their surrounding communities. College and university campuses can play a vital role in stimulating regional economic development. The award focuses on innovative approaches to campus and community planning that makes the campus a magnet or “hot spot” for the regional economy. Examples:
- A new university building that serves as a location for community convening.
- A new incubator facility.
- Mixed use development adjacent to the campus.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
This category focuses on initiatives designed to support startups, high-growth companies and clusters within a region. A region’s prosperity depends in large part on how well the region can convert talent into wealth through innovation and entrepreneurship. Examples:
- An angel capital network formed among university alumni.
- Business assistance collaborations that direct business managers to responsive, high quality assistance.
- A relationship and network building program for students, faculty, alumni and/or businesses.
Leadership and Collaboration
This category recognizes innovative efforts by colleges and universities to support the development of collaborative economic development strategies and the leaders required to implement them. Examples:
- A regional strategy supported and led by a college or university.
- Leadership training that provides students with experience in leading community conversations.
Research and Analysis
This category focuses on the capacity of colleges and universities to provide novel forms of research to design the next generation of tools for economic development practitioners; and recognizes campuses that have successfully applied their research skills and tools to improve the economic well-being of their surrounding community, region, and/or state. Examples:
- New analytic tools that take advantage of the power of geographic information systems.
- Qualitative research that helps to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Reports that provide useful insights into a community or regional economy.
This category recognizes initiatives that promote the development of 21st-century skills. The category emphasizes the importance of educational attainment and workforce development to economic prosperity. The award focuses on the partnerships needed to create flexible, responsive career pathways to expanding businesses. Examples:
- Collaboration between industry and/or a community college with a research university to develop a new certificate program in programs that meet the work force needs of the region.
- Early college partnerships to connect K-12 students to further studies at a community college or university that address local talent needs.
Criteria for the Awards of Excellence
UEDA members evaluate the Awards for Excellence according to the following criteria:
Replicability and Scalability
Replicability and Scalability mean that both large and small institutions can find value in the project/initiative and that the insights, tools, and practices from the project/initiative can be shared and duplicated. The key questions: How easy will this initiative be to replicate? Does this initiative fit both large and small campuses? Can it be easily scaled in either direction, up or down?
Sustainability means that the initiative creates value in which others will invest resources. UEDA members are looking for promising, leading edge practices that can be financially supported and will have a lasting impact on university economic development. The key questions: Does the initiative have a business model that can sustain the initiative beyond its initial funding? How has the initiative’s efforts attracted support and interest from clients, participants, and others? For research projects that, for example, lead to a new analytic tool for use by practitioners, the key questions are: How will the research tool be maintained and updated and will it have a lasting impact on the field? A plan for keeping data and results up-to-date would be a measure of sustainability.
Originality means introducing novel ideas, strategies and collaborations to the field of university economic development. The key questions: Does the initiative introduce an innovative way of thinking and doing? How has the initiative differentiated itself from similar programs? How has the initiative’s unique approach, strategy and ideas impacted its success?