University Economic Development Association

2017 Finalists

Awards of Excellence Finalists

Congratulations to the 2017 UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists who will present their project for attendee voting at the 2017 Annual Summit in Long Beach, CA! Annual Summit attendees will listen and vote on the category winners. These projects, both finalists and winners, represent the top university-based economic development initiatives in the country, as judged by their peers.


Innovation begins with basic research, but then builds on knowledge creation to encompass knowledge transfer and application in ways that are useful and relevant to society. This category encompasses basic research; applied, translational, problem-oriented, and industry-contracted R&D; cooperative extension services; technology transfer; etc.

Lehigh-KEEN Initiative

submitted by Lehigh University

New Jersey Innovation Institute

submitted by New Jersey Innovation Institute

Innovation Gateway

submitted by University of Georgia

Innovation Challenge

submitted by California State University, Long Beach

Innovation + Talent

Projects and initiatives that synergistically connect TALENT and INNOVATION, to create innovators of many kinds—business entrepreneurs, idea or product makers, and problem-solvers. Entrepreneurship education projects/initiatives and experiential learning projects/initiatives to connect students with entrepreneurs are just two examples of the types of projects/initiatives included in this category.

StreetWise ‘MBA’™

submitted by Interise

WGU’s Responsible Borrowing Initiatives

submitted by Western Governors University

BOSS, Business Opportunities for Self-Starters

submitted by Indiana University East


Talent includes the spectrum of knowledge transfer activities by which universities educate people, developing human capital for the 21st century Knowledge Economy. This category includes life-long learning, both degree and non-degree programs, experiential education and discovery-based learning programs, active alignment of curricula to industry needs, etc.

Women Who Weld

submitted by Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development- EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI)

Community Scholars

submitted by California State University, Long Beach

Gap Analysis Reporting

submitted by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education

The Long Beach College Promise

submitted by California State University, Long Beach

Talent + Place

Projects and initiatives that synergistically connect TALENT and PLACE in ways that enrich discourse, promote civic participation, and otherwise enhance quality of place.  Just a few examples include K-12 school improvement partnerships; local government training institutes; and higher education involvement in regional government, economic development organizations, and community and wellness projects/initiatives.

NIU Engineering @ RVC

submitted by Northern Illinois University

MyPlate the Musical: A Program to Increase Nutrition and Physical Activity Knowledge and Behavior in Elementary Schools to Combat Childhood Obesity

submitted by California State University, Northridge

3 WINS Fitness

submitted by California State University, Northridge

University of Alaska: Fisheries, Seafood and Maritime Initiative – Maritime Works

submitted by The University of Alaska


Place is defined as the many and diverse ways in which institutions contribute to making attractive, competitive communities—places where people want to live, create and take jobs, raise their families, participate in civic life, and age and retire. Competitive, successful communities and regions are attentive to the health, education, environment, housing, safety, and entertainment needs of community members. Campuses and sites like research parks are components of place-making, but the focus of this definition is broader, on communities, or even on regions.

A Tale of Two Cities: How Sea Grant Helped Tybee Island and St. Marys to Save Money While Saving Lives

submitted by The University of Georgia

Asset Based Planning in Rural Tennessee Counties

submitted by The University of Tennessee

Archway Partnership

submitted by The University of Georgia

Regional Workforce Development in Rural British Columbia, Canada

submitted by Selkirk College

Place + Innovation

Projects and initiatives that synergistically connect INNOVATION and PLACE, to create physical places that attract and build concentrations of talent and innovators—knowledge communities. This can be construed as either or both (1) a specific site, such as a university research and technology park, incubator, accelerator, etc., or (2) a larger community, area, or region, such as an innovation district.

Launch Alaska

submitted by The University of Alaska Center for Economic Development

Sustainable Economic Development Initiative

submitted by The University of West Florida

Propelling a University-Driven Innovation Ecosystem

submitted by The University of Nevada, Reno

USF Tampa Bay Technology Incubator

submitted by The University of South Florida