University Economic Development Association

University Economic Development Association selects Awards of Excellence winners representing the leading best practices in university-based economic development across North America

AoE-Logo-No-YearSANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – October 3, 2014 – The University Economic Development Association (UEDA) announced its 2014 Awards of Excellence winners during its Annual Summit held this week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 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.Rich Overmoyer, UEDA’s Executive Director and President & CEO of Fourth Economy Consulting stated, “As we benchmark cities of regional transformation across North America, there is a noticeable trend in the impact that quality institutions of higher education have on regions of growth.” Overmoyer continued, “these Awards of Excellence category winners and finalists represent regions where universities are playing a role to create sustainable economic growth.”

The 2014 UEDA Awards of Excellence category winners are:

Alexandria Co-Working Network
submitted by Arizona State University
Community Connected Campus Award Winner
The Alexandria Co-working Network, developed by Arizona State University (ASU), brings people together in collaboration spaces in public libraries, creating a network of places for people to connect, collaborate and find valuable resources. Launched in May of 2013, Alexandria Co-working Network is designed as a hub and spoke between the activities of the ASU and the public library system. The objective is to help designated libraries in Arizona and beyond offer innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration spaces through both a physical and a virtual network that supports the creation of new innovations and aids economic development through the creation of new startup companies. Libraries in the network create open collaboration spaces in their facilities, where innovators and entrepreneurs can find collaborators and mentors. In this environment they also get access to fully equipped working spaces, library fact-finding services, and physical and digital library resources. Through the Network, ASU offers entrepreneurial education, training to library staff, access to a distributed mentor pool and most importantly a platform, in which libraries can use to serve the entrepreneurial community. Since the launch of the network, ASU has jointly opened four locations within Arizona (Scottsdale, Mesa, Phoenix, and Goodyear) and these spaces have reported success in serving the community, making impact upon the local economy, and attracting new constituents to libraries. In the near future, the Network will expand to other states, with current discussions underway in several libraries.

Nexus Innovation Program
submitted by Philadelphia University
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award Winner
Philadelphia University’s Kanbar College created a new curriculum around innovation, to bring innovation to industry in the region and beyond. To accomplish this, we fully integrated the school of design, school of engineering, and business school into an integrated curriculum, figuratively and literally under one roof. The Nexus Innovation Program brings the innovation processes out of the classroom and applies them directly to companies. Companies such as Unilever, Newell Rubbermaid, Armstrong, and Federal Mogul have sponsored projects that have led to new ideas and commercial product opportunities. What makes the program unique and successful is that it is transdisciplinary – teams are comprised of students from different majors and year, that it is real world – the problems addressed are not homogenized, they are complex and a real context of a company’s technology, business, and team, and they are active – students interact as professionals directly with company staff and subject matter experts. Also, the program is based on the combined goal of achieving strong educational outcomes and real business impact. In this way, the University becomes an extension of the company’s innovation resources, and the companies become partners in education. Projects are a combination of high energy sprints, designed to produce a volume of concepts over the course of a single week, and deep dies, designed to full develop a concept from a design, engineering prototype, and business model standpoint. This program has gained significant traction in both academic and industrial realms.

submitted by University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
Leadership and Collaboration Award Winner
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s AeroInnovate helps aeroinnovators from across the globe who are starting and growing aero-related businesses and bringing related new technologies to the marketplace. AeroInnovate’s goal is to facilitate the alignment of passionate, successful investors and industry leaders with the best aviation-related opportunities in the world to help get deals done. In this way, exciting new aircraft and aviation products and services will be commercialized and new opportunities created in aviation. AeroInnovate does this by bringing innovators together and offering top-notch educational forums, aligning the best companies with investors and industry leaders, exposing technology through technology showcases and connecting aeroinnovators to people and resources. AeroInnovate was conceptualized in 2007 by a small group of diverse people working for and with UW Oshkosh. Because of the success of AeroInnovate over the past several years, UW Oshkosh is collaborating with its partners to expand by adding an aerospace accelerator program. Additionally, AeroInnovate has been a catalyst for local and regional economic development. AeroInnovate has played a key role in the development of an aviation business park in it’s hometown of Oshkosh, WI as well as for a statewide aerospace consortium.

Pacific Region Breadfruit Initiative
submitted by University of Hawaii – Manoa
Research and Analysis Award Winner
The Pacific Business Center Program, UH partnered with the Breadfruit Institute, to promote breadfruit in the Pacific to address the lack of food security in the Pacific. To create an economic incentive for Pacific Island Countries to grow breadfruit trees, the PBCP organized a Breadfruit Summit in American Samoa to introduce a new technology for producing breadfruit trees and to highlight the potential for breadfruit flour as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in the gluten-free market in the US. The Two Samoas Breadfruit Summit requested the PBCP to determine the feasibility of developing a breadfruit flour industry in Samoa. Both Samoas increased their orders for breadfruit plantlets. In 2013, the PBCP introduced breadfruit plantlet technology at the 19th Micronesia Chief Executives Summit (MCES). MCES endorsed the PBCP’s proposal for a feasibility study for creating a breadfruit flour industry in Micronesia. Palau, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas ordered breadfruit plantlets. In April, 2014: The PBCP was awarded a grant from OIA, U.S. Department of Interior to determine the feasibility developing a breadfruit based, gluten-free flour industry in Micronesia; The State of Hawaii passed a bill in support of developing a breadfruit flour industry in Hawaii;USAID requested that the PBCP organize a Summit on breadfruit for the Melanesian states of the southwest Pacific to be held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea sometime in the late fall of 2014. This third breadfruit summit will effectively make breadfruit propagation a Pacific-wide effort.

Joint Institute for Engineering and Technology – Aerospace (JiET-A)
submitted by Northern Illinois University
Talent Development Award Winner
Recognizing the importance of the aerospace industry as a major economic driver, the Rockford Area Aerospace Accelerator Project (RAAAP) was created to accelerate innovation, job creation and global competitiveness in the robust aerospace cluster in Rockford, Illinois. In collaboration with regional aerospace industry leaders, a coalition of higher education, economic development and workforce development professionals developed a regional aerospace growth system focusing on four key goals: product innovation, branding, high-tech and engineering workforce pipeline and entrepreneurship. The group was awarded one of 20 federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge (JIAC) grants to support its efforts. The project is led by Northern Illinois University with the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Rock Valley [Community] College, EIGERlab (small business incubator/acclerator), and the regional Workforce Investment Board. Private sector members of the Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN) are actively engaged in the project, providing valuable input, helping to facilitate linkages with regional companies and providing critical support of key project elements. A key innovation arising from the collaborative work of the JIAC grant was the creation of the Joint Institute for Engineering and Technology – Aerospace (JiET-A). This initiative unites higher education providers and local aerospace companies in a joint effort to streamline the academic and career development pathways for local students so that the community is working together to “grow its own” engineering and high-tech workforce.

Arizona State University
Judges Award
The UEDA Awards of Excellence presentation also included a Judges’ Award, given to a deserving finalist whom the UEDA Awards Committee deemed worthy of special recognition. Guided by a strategic session, termed the “Body of Knowledge” and aimed at defining organizational taxonomies and principles, the judges awarded the 2014 Judges’ Award to Arizona State University. Arizona State had three initiatives recognized as finalists in the 2014 program, which intersected with the Body of Knowledge concepts of talent, place, and innovation.

Nominations for the 2015 Awards of Excellence program will begin in the spring of 2015. Award Nominees must be members of the UEDA. Join today at

How the Awards Process Works
University project teams applied for the UEDA Awards of Excellence Program. Projects were reviewed and scored by an executive award committee and three or four project finalists were selected for each category. Project finalists presented their projects to attendees of the UEDA Annual Summit, where the audience of peers voted for projects that best exemplified the criteria for their category. Throughout the process, projects were judged on scalability, sustainability, impact originality, and the ability to be replicated. Awards were presented at the awards banquet at the 2014 Annual Summit held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The 2015 UEDA Summit will be held in Anchorage, Alaska in the fall of 2015.

About UEDA
Established in 1976, the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) is the cornerstone membership organization representing higher education, private sector and community economic development stakeholders. UEDA works to expand economic opportunity in our communities by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development, and technology commercialization. UEDA’s mission is to serve its members by enhancing members’ abilities to deliver economic development benefits through engagement with higher education.