University Economic Development Association

As you are probably aware, the 2013 Awards of Excellence are right around the corner.  We are currently accepting applications for Colleges and Universities to submit their leading edge initiatives to UEDA where members will vote on the winner.  All nominations are due by May 31, 2013 so be sure to get all of your materials ready and register today.

UEDA asked some of last year’s Awards of Excellence winners about their experience with the Awards. We talked to Robert Gustafson, the Managing Director of the Enterprise Systems Center at Lehigh University, and here is what he had to say about his university’s 2012 submission to the Awards and some words of encouragement for organizations considering submitting an application this year.

1. What aspects of your project, do you feel, made the difference in being selected as a finalist for the UEDA Awards of Excellence?

We paid close attention to the award guidelines and began by reminding the audience of the guidelines, selected an initiative that aligns with a current top global competitive differentiator – analytics, and focused on partnership among ISE academic department, engineering college research center and industry partner network and importance of doing real projects and delivering ROI.  We also demonstrated how project included replicability, scalability, sustainability, originality.  In particular, that it does not depend on any subsidies, but gives over $100K back to the university through recognized value-add, as well as used student testimonials embedded in presentation.

2. What is your advice to other universities who are considering entering this year’s UEDA Awards of Excellence?

Concentrate on how you provide value to the economy (industry partners) and not on how you use various government subsidies.  This is an obsolete model that we should try to replace with value-based engagements.

3. What was your experience like at the UEDA Annual Summit and Awards Banquet  when your university was a finalist?

This was second year that we were finalists.  The networking and keynote speakers were very interesting. I enjoyed hearing about the good work that others are doing across the country and having a chance to benchmark.

4.  What kind of promotional and press coverage has your university received since being a winner of the 2012 Awards?

We had a news release, inclusion on university, college and department web sites.  Most importantly, it adds credibility to claims of national leadership in selling additional projects to new industry partners.