University Economic Development Association

 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 UEDA Summit, where attendees choose category leaders. As practitioners of economic engagement, your work is building and innovating communities across the globe. Your initiatives are generating impacts that are sustainable and provide growth opportunities for your region. You and your programs drive innovation and work to support your residents and your regional economic ecosystems. Awards of Excellence participants make-up a prestigious group of global economic development innovators nationally.

We look forward to announcing who will join this illustrious group and highlighting the initiatives that were selected as finalists for the 2022 UEDA Awards of Excellence.

Awards of Excellence Recognition Generates…

  • Professional validation of your work as a best practice in economic development
  • Rigorous evaluation by your peers in the field
  • Increased attractiveness of your program to funders
  • Additional exposure for winners in the UEDA member newsletter Intersections.

Past award-winning projects have come from diverse disciplines with measurable results that have transcended economic development through their originality, scalability, and applicability in solving the unique and significant economic development challenges facing regions and communities today.



Awards of Excellence Nomination Process

Choose your project to nominate for an Award of Excellence.
Attend the Awards of Excellence Informational Webinar.
APRIL 17 – JUNE  16
Submit your nomination form online through the UEDA Application Portal.
Finalists notified.
Finalists attend the Awards of Excellence presentation preparation webinar.
OCTOBER 8 – 10


Attend the 2023 UEDA Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah
All Awards of Excellence finalists must attend the Summit in person to present their initiatives to those in attendance for judging.


Awards are presented in five categories:


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.


The Innovation category encompasses basic research; applied, translational, problem-oriented, and industry-contracted R&D; cooperative extension services; technology transfer; etc.


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.

Engaged University

This category recognizes initiatives that demonstrate excellence in linking all three legacy award categories. Projects included successfully engage multiple community partners to link, leverage and connect efforts in Talent, Innovation, and Place.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

This category recognizes projects that demonstrate excellence in fostering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in a community. Projects in this category attempt to make their communities more equitable by creating opportunities for historically underserved populations, including but not limited to communities of color, unemployed and underemployed workers, persons with disabilities, individuals impacted by the criminal justice system, veterans and military spouses, and other groups facing labor market barriers.

Open Nominations Format

Non-UEDA members may nominate one project or initiative for an application fee of $200 per entry. UEDA members may nominate multiple projects at no cost as part of the value of their UEDA membership.*

If you are not currently a UEDA member, please consider joining today and all of your institution’s 2022 Awards nominations may be submitted at no cost. Learn more at




Engaged University

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion