Place matters. And Colorado State University is being recognized – yet again – for its leadership in developing robust relationships, locally and globally, which lead to greater innovation and economic prosperity.
Colorado State is a finalist for the prestigious Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Innovation and Economic Prosperity University award. In November, APLU will present awards in three categories – Place, Talent and Innovation. CSU is a finalist for the IEP Universities Place Award, which recognizes exemplary focus on social, cultural or community development.
Colorado State is also in the running for the APLU’s overall Connections Award for exemplary economic engagement that connects university activities across the Place, Talent and Innovation categories. In addition, the university is a finalist for a national honor for related success from a second prominent higher education group.
The APLU nomination comes on the heels of the group’s recognition of CSU as an Innovation & Economic Prosperity University earlier this year, and further reinforces the university’s strong commitment to its land-grant heritage and motivation to advance the state economy and quality of life.
The IEP designation recognizes public research universities working 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.
“We are grateful to APLU for this recognition of the remarkable climate for innovation at Colorado State and in our community – and we particularly appreciate the hard work and participation of people across our community who shared their ideas and recommendations with us as part of the process,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “The feedback we received from campus and community stakeholders validated some recognized opportunities for growth in our role as an economic partner and identified promising new areas for exploration and collaboration.”
The six public universities selected as finalists in the various categories are driving economic progress in the communities they serve by fulfilling an all-important task through workforce development, scientific research and partnerships with private-sector stakeholders in their regions.
“These six finalists for the 2016 APLU Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards have all demonstrated a clear commitment to economic engagement and have delivered contributions that are transforming their communities,” APLU President Peter McPherson said.
Internal review, external input
An independent panel reviewed CSU’s application, which included an extensive internal review and analysis of its economic engagement activities conducted with outside stakeholder input. The application process was facilitated by CSU’s Office of Community and Economic Development, a unit of the Office of Engagement, and co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.
“Colorado State University has an innovation ecosystem that at its heart begins with the passion of the faculty, staff and students who lead our discoveries and the creative ideation process by which we pursue important research questions that drive our land-grant commitment to make a difference in the world,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research. “We also have strong translational assets that carry our ideas into the community through entrepreneurship and commercialization.”
“Our internal and external stakeholders have given their insights into our current economic engagement activities,” said Lou Swanson, vice president for the Office of Engagement. “We are now turning to the next phase in engaging our campus and community partners as we work to enhance our connections on the issues of economic development, innovation and workforce partnerships.”
A ‘Place’ of Invention
As a finalist for the IEP Universities Place Award, Colorado State is being acknowledged once again for its town-gown connections. CSU and the City of Fort Collins were recently recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, and are being featured in a five-year exhibit, as one of six “Places of Invention” throughout American history for the region’s groundbreaking work in clean-energy development. This achievement was chronicled in the Rocky Mountain PBS documentary How a Place Matters.
“The innovative spirit of the Fort Collins community is due in large part to unique collaboration among government, industry and Colorado State University, which is why the university is so well-poised to receive this IEP award,” said Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell, who is also a CSU associate professor in mechanical engineering. “The magic created by that triple-helix environment puts our university city on the map and allows us to share best practices with other communities.”
The IEP award submission details the university’s global leadership in sustainability, exemplified through three case studies: CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, the Energy Institute at the Powerhouse Campus, and EnviroFit International. The winners will be announced at the APLU annual meeting in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 13.
CSU is also a finalist in the “Innovation & Place” category for a second national award – this one from the University Economic Development Association. The entry revolves around the innovative Powerhouse Energy Campus. The campus, formerly home to the City of Fort Collins Municipal Power Plant, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art complex that includes the CSU Energy Institute and its 13 affiliated research centers. The campus represents a new model of collaborative space that fosters interaction and cooperation among researchers, departments, policymakers, partners and startups that expand the impact, reach and reputation of education and research at Colorado State.
Winners will be announced on Oct. 18.