University Economic Development Association

Awards Session: Engaged University

Tech Parks Arizona – The Refinery / UA Tech Park at The Bridges

Speakers: Carol Stewart – Vice President, University of Arizona

The first vertical development within the UA Tech Park at The Bridges broke ground in early 2020. Kicking off the long-awaited community of innovation with the first building “The Refinery” named such because of its proximity to the talent and bright minds that can be mined from the University of Arizona.

The University partnered with developer Boyer to create a future-focused environment for technology to thrive creating a place that welcomed academia, industry and government organizations to work alongside each other.

The Refinery opened its doors in April 2022 with 50% of the building committed to the University bringing various departments together to provide one central location for tech transfer activities stemming from the University. This is a place for invention development and product refinement. It also serves as the University of Arizona’s innovation and commercialization hub creating one centralized location that bridges resources and accelerates the most promising inventions.

Strategically located in the heart of Tucson, minutes from the University of Arizona, downtown and the airport, The Refinery represents the start of a larger vision coming to fruition. It is part of the long-term plans within the UA Tech Park at The Bridges that include four to five office and lab buildings, research buildings, a news studio, and hotel with meeting spaces for public, private, and academic users. This epicenter will serve as the place where innovation is nurtured and University-founded ideas are connected with companies, developing a streamlined path between idea and impact.


Towson University- The StarTUp

Speakers: Patrick McQuown – Executive Director, Entrepreneurship

The StarTUp at the Armory was established with a vision to catalyze Towson University’s (TU) entrepreneurship and economic development efforts both within the university and throughout Maryland. The StarTUp is strategically positioned to be the off- campus “front door to the university” that is easily accessible to the public, and is a physical representation of TU’s presence in Greater Baltimore. The vision for the StarTUp is to cultivate new ventures that will stimulate and strengthen the innovation of existing businesses while providing the infrastructure and knowledge to establish a start-up. By providing these resources and a location at the StarTUp that enables interactions and partnerships between entrepreneurs, mentors, angel investors and capital partners, educational institutions, and others, TU has created a unique initiative that joins together both innovation and place.

The two-story, 26,000-square-foot StarTUp building is located a half-mile from campus and offers a business resource center, co-working space, and meeting rooms where Greater Baltimore’s entrepreneurs and executives can connect with each other and to TU’s programs and people. This 6,000-square-foot co-working space is accessible for free to members of the public, businesses, and government, and offers a place to develop a network of relationships and a culture of innovative creators. The StarTUp is also the headquarters for an eight-week Accelerator program that targets both TU-affiliated and non-affiliated ventures aiming to grow their businesses. Additionally, the Accelerator includes programming for the entire campus, alumni, and the broader community seeking opportunities to learn, conceive, collaborate, launch, and lead in new endeavors.


University of Kentucky – UK Economic Development Collaborative

Speakers: George Ward – Executive Director

The University of Kentucky Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) is a decentralized network of campus leaders and community stakeholders who oversee UK’s economic development and business engagement activities.

The mission of the EDC is to proactively grow economic prosperity in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the areas of talent, innovation, place, partnership, and equitable economic development.

UK Economic Development Collaborative Framework – UK currently has six Economic Development Engagement Areas:
-UK Owned Economic Development Venues – the 735-acre Coldstream Research Campus, the Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC Incubator), The Cornerstone, and the developing UK Innovation District.
-UK Innovate – the innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic enterprise for UK Research which includes the Office of Technology Commercialization, Launch Blue, and UK Innovation Connect.
-CEDIK – Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky
-Office of Business Engagement
-Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship
-Stuckert Career Center

A “Core Committee” team consisting of the leaders of these six economic development engagement areas and high-level representatives of all university departments and several academic colleges formed in 2019 to prioritize and advocate for bold ideas, brainstorm innovative solutions, and identify more opportunities for UK to collaborate with local and state government and industry partners. Participants include 4 college deans, the vice provost, representatives from Research, Philanthropy, UK HealthCare, UK Information Technology, Human Resources, Purchasing, Student Success, University Relations, Athletics, UK Legal, and the President’s office.


Wichita State University – Wichita State University Innovation Campus

Speakers: Diane Tinker Hurst – Project Manager

From what was once a golf course to a research/innovation park that gives students the opportunity to build their business network and their resumes, the Wichita State University Innovation Campus demonstrates Wichita State’s commitment to the economic prosperity of Wichita, the state, and the region through industry partnerships and applied learning opportunities.

Innovation Campus partners reap the rewards of Wichita State’s resources, laboratories that give students access to real-world applications and the training needed to effortlessly assimilate into the workforce, a community makerspace that gives both students and non-students alike access to the technology and services that help facilitate product development, and mixed-use areas that provide everyone with a place to eat, sleep, work, play, shop, and share.

It has become a catalyst for research, innovation and learning with new research and lab facilities, and partnerships with industry. It is home to new residential, retail, and service developments to improve the quality of student life and draw the community onto campus and is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks. It has become a model of public-private partnerships for the benefit of our students and our state.

Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus advances industry and community partnerships to provide quality educational opportunities and collaborations to satisfy rapidly evolving community and workforce needs. It brings together resources, ideas, expertise, and student talent to make the world a better place.


October 1 @ 12:00
12:00 — 12:45 (45′)

Zapata