The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has designated UGA an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University. UGA is one of only 16 universities in the nation to receive the designation.
The new APLU designation acknowledges 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.
Economic development has become one of the cornerstones of UGA’s mission under the direction of UGA President Jere W. Morehead, who serves on APLU’s Committee of Research Intensive Public Universities.
“As a land-grant institution, UGA is charged with serving the citizens of Georgia in ways that improve their lives,” Morehead said. “Economic opportunity, job creation and the support of existing businesses and industries in this state create opportunities for Georgians, and UGA can, and should, aid in those efforts.”
Morehead said the APLU designation is a reflection of the hard work and effort the university is undertaking to support economic development statewide.
To earn the designation, UGA conducted an internal and external assessment of its regional economic development efforts and developed a comprehensive improvement plan. The nearly yearlong IEP application process was directed by Margaret Wagner Dahl, associate vice president for economic development in the Office of the Vice President for Research.
“The IEP process for the University of Georgia has been an outstanding experience which enabled us to harness UGA resources that can be devoted to economic development for the state as well as very specific feedback on how to engage these resources more effectively,” Dahl said. “Using the APLU assessment tool, conducting the UGA stakeholders’ workshop last March and coordinating the improvement plan has given us the ability to understand where we have been, where we want to go and what we must do in order to work with Georgians to substantively improve our citizens’ economic position.”
Among the initiatives undertaken since Morehead assumed the UGA presidency in July is an economic development office in Atlanta to establish a closer link with Atlanta’s business sector, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, local chambers of commerce, universities and to serve as a hub for economic development around the state.