University Economic Development Association

2018 Finalists

Awards of Excellence Finalists

Congratulations to the 2018 UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists who presented their projects for attendee voting at the 2018 Annual Summit in Milwaukee, WI! 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.

Ideadvance Lean Start Up – Generating Warp Speed Effectiveness for Entrepreneurship Initiatives: The Power of Public-Private Partnerships

submitted by The University of Wisconsin System

Marquette University Explorer Challenge  CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by Marquette University

Cultivar Development Research Program

submitted by The University of Georgia

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.

Peer Mentorship Program to Promote Diversity within the Nutrition and Dietetics Profession

submitted by California State University, Northridge: Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition, and Dietetics

CSUN Summer Accelerator  CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by California State University, Northridge

Comprehensive Digital Records for the 21st Century Workplace

submitted by Elon University

The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship Economic Development (CUEED)

submitted by Rutgers University


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.

Sentry Insurance Cooperative Initiative

submitted by The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point 

Internship Draft Day  CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance (New Era)

The Valley Industry Partnership for Cooperative Education (VIP) Program

submitted by California State University, Fresno

BGSU Hometown Internship Program

submitted by Bowling Green State University

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.

Manufacturing Sector Growth, Photonics Cluster Growth, and Entrepreneur Success Initiative

submitted by Montana State University Montana Manufacturing Extension Center

Creating Neighborhood Developers Program

submitted by Southern University and A & M College

Georgia Certified Economic Developer Program

submitted by The University of Georgia

Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program

submitted by The University of Alabama

MOSS – McCall Outdoor Science School  CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by The University of Idaho


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.

Asset Based Planning in Rural Tennessee Counties

submitted by The University of Tennessee

UGA Archway Partnership Health Care Needs in Rural Georgia CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by The University of Georgia

North Campus Corridor Industry Co-location Development

submitted by Kansas State University

Advance Iowa

submitted by The University of Northern Iowa

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.

Sustainable Economic Development Initiative

submitted by The University of West Florida

Iowa City Area Development Group / University of Iowa

submitted by The University of Iowa

Economic Diversity and Inclusivity

submitted by The University of Central Florida


submitted by Pittsburg State University