Business & Society

USU Receives "Innovation and Economic Prosperity" Designation from APLU

Utah State University has been designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Competitiveness (CICEP).

USU is now one of 30 institutions to receive the designation after conducting a thorough self-review with outside stakeholder input and subsequently submitting an application that went through a rigorous independent review process.

“We are honored to receive the designation from APLU,” USU President Stan L. Albrecht said. “As Utah’s land-grant institution, this designation represents the continuing evolution of land-grant universities and reaches beyond our teaching mission by involving the ability of the university to drive economic development throughout Utah.”

The IEP 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.

For Utah State to benefit as much as possible from the designation process, participation was based on enhancing the university’s existing commitment to innovation and economic prosperity by focusing on existing objectives of the university that are relevant to economic development. Submission efforts were led through the office of Innovation and Commercialization Services under the direction of Robert Behunin, vice president for advancement and commercialization.

“Our submission was based on the concept that by drawing from USU’s strengths and focusing on areas we need to improve, we can further our innovation and economic impact throughout the state,” said Behunin. “Collaboration among the colleges and regional campuses can also encourage innovation and, as a result, drive economic prosperity. In addition, this process has given us a chance to analyze where USU currently stands in reaching these objectives and where we want to focus our future efforts. As a result, we have been able to form a growth and development plan to build upon these objectives.”

The APLU said public universities serve as economic engines for their local communities and states.

“The 18 public institutions in the 2015 class of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities are conducting cutting-edge research to reach new breakthroughs while also developing the talent to help existing businesses grow stronger and enabling new ones to thrive,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “Together, they serve as wonderful models of how public research universities extend beyond their campuses to engage their communities in economic development that create jobs and improve lives.”

Representing 238 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and related organizations, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities is the nation’s oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada and Mexico. Annually, APLU member campuses enroll 4.8 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.4 million faculty and staff and conduct $41.4 billion in university-based research.

Contact: Kate Peterson Astle, USU Commercial Enterprises, 435-797-9608,

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