Awards of Excellence
Recognizing Economic Development Initiatives
The Awards of Excellence are given in recognition of outstanding economic development initiatives, research, or accomplishments. Proposals are submitted to the Awards of Excellence committee who choose the finalists. The finalists then present their projects at the Annual Summit, where attendees choose category leaders.
Our 2019 Finalists
Innovation + Talent:
Talent + Place:
Place + Innovation:
Awards are presented in six categories:
The Innovation category encompasses basic research; applied, translational, problem-oriented, and industry-contracted R&D; cooperative extension services; technology transfer; etc.
Innovation + Talent
This category recognizes projects that connect talent and innovation to foster business entrepreneurs, idea or product makers, and problem-solvers. Entrepreneurship education projects and experiential learning projects to connect students with entrepreneurs are just two examples of the types of projects included in this category.
The Talent category focuses on programs that teach people how to thrive in the 21st century Knowledge Economy. This category includes life-long learning (degree and non-degree programs), experiential education and discovery-based learning programs, active alignment of curricula to industry needs, etc.
Talent + Place
Talent + Place projects exemplify how putting the right people in the right environment will benefit the community and economy. Examples include K-12 school improvement partnerships; local government training institutes; higher education involvement in regional government, economic development organizations; and community and wellness projects/initiatives.
The Place category recognizes the diverse ways in which higher education institutions contribute to the overall aesthetic and quality of life of their communities. Campuses and sites such as research parks are components of place-making, but the focus of this category is on the broader impact throughout the community or region.
Place + Innovation
Projects in this category connect innovation and place to create physical spaces that attract innovative talent to create a new knowledge community. This space can be either or both
- A specific site, such as a university research and technology park, incubator, accelerator, etc.
- A larger community, area, or region, such as an innovation district.