Penn State named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) has named Penn State an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University in recognition of its strong commitment to economic engagement. The APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization representing 234 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada and Mexico.

Institutions that earn the designation of Innovation and Economic Prosperity University work with public and private sector partners in their states and regions to support economic development through a variety of activities, including innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development and community development, according to APLU. Penn State is one of 14 universities named in APLU's second group of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities.

"This important designation validates Penn State's commitment to driving economic development through research and education, and recognizes our continuous and growing efforts for improvement in these areas," said Penn State President Eric J. Barron.

Barron noted that in the area of research alone, expenditures supported by industry and private partners have exceeded $100 million in each of the last six years. Over the same period, the Office of Technology Management at Penn State has filed 341 patent applications while issuing 101 patent licensing agreements.

"This important designation validates Penn State's commitment to driving economic development through research and education, and recognizes our continuous and growing efforts for improvement in these areas."

— Penn State President Eric J. Barron

Penn State also has partnered regionally in several prominent Pennsylvania-based research endeavors across the Commonwealth. At Penn State Erie, the Knowledge Park's new Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center will include University classrooms and laboratories co-located with industry partners. At Innovation Park in State College, Penn State along with Battelle Memorial Institute and Sciaky Corp. operate the Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D), a world-class resource for advancing and deploying additive manufacturing technology. The University also is the lead partner in the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, one of the largest and most dynamic urban redevelopment sites in the nation.

"Economic development is tied directly to the notion of student career success, because as we partner with business and industry our students and our graduates gain a competitive edge, increasing their value to potential employers," said Barron.

The president added that Penn State is dedicated to providing experiential education, including engaged scholarship and research experiences for undergraduate students, and the development and delivery of entrepreneurship education such as the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The University also offers a variety of co-curricular entrepreneurship and innovation experiences to students through events such as Global Entrepreneurship Week and Start-up Week that attract innovators from around the country and abroad.

Along with Penn State, the other institutions that earned the Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation from APLU are Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, the University of Illinois, the University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Wayne State University. APLU designated an inaugural group last fall.

The process to obtain designation required a comprehensive self-review of university economic engagement activities with outside stakeholder input, and subsequent development of an improvement plan to address weaknesses and better leverage strengths. Applications went through a rigorous independent review process, led by APLU's Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity, created to help public universities plan, assess and communicate their work in local and regional economic development.

"Public universities serve as economic engines for their local communities and states by conducting cutting-edge research to reach new breakthroughs, and by developing the talent to help existing businesses grow stronger and enabling new ones to develop and thrive," said APLU President Peter McPherson. "The 14 institutions receiving the 2014 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation serve as models. They demonstrate how public research universities extend beyond their campuses to engage their communities in economic development that creates jobs and improves lives."

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Last Updated July 25, 2014