University Economic Development Association

2019 Finalists

Awards of Excellence Finalists

Congratulations to the 2019 UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists who will present their project for attendee voting at the 2019 UEDA Summit in Reno-Tahoe, Nevada! UEDA 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.

University of Georgia’s New Materials Institute

submitted by the University of Georgia


submitted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hau’ula Community Resilience Model Village CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Pacific Business Center Program 

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.

SURE-Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by the University of Houston

Outdoor Recreation as an Economic and Community Engagement Catalyst in Western North Carolina

submitted by West Carolina University

Institute Fellows

submitted by the University of North Alabama

Smart Cities-Smart Futures: Building a Roadmap to a Future Where There Are No Roads

submitted by the University of Wisconsin System


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.


submitted by the University of Idaho, Coeur d’Alene

UGA Fanning Institute Partnership Strengthens Schools through Student Engagement

submitted by the University of Georgia

BOSS (Business Opportunities for Self Starters)

submitted by Indiana University East

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.

CSUN Champions for Change: Growing a Healthy Community!

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

M3: Harnessing the Power of Education for Talent Development CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by UW-Milwaukee

Regulatory Issues in Animal Health

submitted by Kansas State University, Olathe


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.

University of Kentucky—Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government – Economic Development Partnership

submitted by The University of Kentucky

Indiana University Rural Arts Program CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement

Rising from the Ashes: A Downtown Master Plan Transforms a Community

submitted by The University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Community Change Collaborative (CCC) of Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance

submitted by Virginia Tech University

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.

Nevada Center for Applied Research-Opening Doors for Innovation

submitted by the University of Nevada, Reno

The UT Dallas Intellectual Transit-Oriented Transformational Incubator (DITTI) CATEGORY LEADER

submitted by The University of Texas at Dallas

Alaska Startups Storyteller

submitted by the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development


Judges’ Awards

This year’s Awards of Excellence featured exceptional initiatives from across the country, which led to the awarding two Judges’ Awards, reflecting the tremendous quality of the 2019 finalists.

The 2019 Judges’ Awards winners are:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: NCGrowth
NCGrowth is a university center at UNC Chapel Hill that helps businesses and communities create good jobs and equitable opportunities through applied research and technical assistance. With a passionate staff and a dynamic pool of graduate student analysts, we partner with businesses, communities, governments and other organizations to tackle outcome-based economic development and entrepreneurship projects. Since 2012 NCGrowth has helped to create hundreds of jobs and worked with over 150 business and community clients.

The University of Georgia
The University of Georgia was recognized with a Judges’ Award for overall excellence by having three Awards finalists in various categories This continues the strong tradition of UGA in these awards, having won in each of the past three years (2017 – 2019) and numerous finalists over that span.