Iowa State University (ISU) has been named as one of six finalists for the Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards.
The finalists — Colorado State University, Iowa State University, Montana State University, the University of New Mexico, North Carolina State University and the University of Pittsburgh — are competing for four different awards that recognize different components of university economic engagement.
ISU is a finalist for the IEP Innovation award, recognizing exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development.
ISU is also a finalist for The IEP Economic Engagement Connections award, the top prize in the awards competition, recognizing overall excellence and leveraging across all three award categories. All six category finalists are contenders for the Connections award.
The winners will be announced at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) annual meeting, held November 11-13 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“We applaud this year’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards finalists for their exceptional contributions to regional economic engagement,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Economic development and community engagement cut to the heart of public universities’ mission to advance the communities they serve. We’re delighted to spotlight the work of the finalists so other institutions can build upon the example they have set.”
To be eligible for an IEP award, an institution must first earn the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from APLU. To receive that designation, universities conduct a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement activities which includes input from external stakeholders.
“Iowa State University has created a vibrant startup culture at the institution. Innovations at ISU span a broad range of areas – from technology to food production, material sciences to advanced manufacturing,” read the announcement. “After the university identified a need to bolster its innovation infrastructure in 2016, it launched its Startup Factory program. The effort is an intense yearlong accelerator program aimed at helping budding startups take off. It also supports entrepreneurs with programming covering business legal structures, design thinking, risk management, and marketing, among other subject areas. What’s more, entrepreneurs enrolled in the program have access to a mentoring network that provides board meeting simulations that help the participants gain experience providing reports on their progress and being held accountable for meeting challenging deadlines.”