University Economic Development Association

Awards of Excellence




Engaged University

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Announcement: The 2024 Cycle has launched!

This year’s Awards of Excellence cycle launched on March 25, 2024 and the nomination deadline is July 1, 2024

Click here to submit a nomination!

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.

Your sustainable initiatives as practitioners of economic engagement drive regional growth and innovation, building thriving communities worldwide. We recognize you as a national leader in economic development.

UEDA looks forward to announcing who will join this illustrious group and highlighting initiatives that will be finalists for this year’s 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.

UEDA Awards of Excellence Informational Webinar (2024)

View Presentation Slide Deck

What makes a strong nomination?

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.

What impact does an Award of Excellence on nominees?

Many finalists and winners find that an Awards of Excellence helps leverage their initiatives towards opportunities and build momentum towards growth. Hear it from one of 2023’s winners, Leslie Sieck from Culver-Stockton College:

Awards of Excellence Nomination Process


Choose your project to nominate for an Award of Excellence.

Attend the Awards of Excellence Informational Webinar.
Submit your nomination form online through the UEDA Application Portal.
Finalists notified.
Finalists attend the Awards of Excellence presentation preparation webinar.

Attend the 2024 UEDA Summit in South Bend, Indiana

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