Research Foundation News

June 4, 2019

International organization names Purdue a finalist for innovation and economic prosperity award

Purdue is a finalist for the APLU “Place” award for its ongoing initiatives resulting in social, cultural and community development such as the Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indianapolis.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) on Tuesday (June 4) named Purdue University one of six universities as finalists for its seventh annual Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards.

Purdue is a finalist for the association’s “Place” award for its ongoing initiatives resulting in social, cultural and community development. Purdue also is a finalist for the group’s top-prize award, Economic Engagement Connections, recognizing overall excellence and leveraging across all award categories.

“As Indiana’s land-grant university, our mission is to educate future leaders and provide programs and assistance for an improved quality of life for Indiana residents and for our global society,” said Steve Abel, Purdue University associate provost for engagement. “It is a commitment we take very seriously. Purdue Extension Offices are in every one of Indiana’s 92 counties and are served by more than 250 Purdue educators.

 “To be recognized as a finalist for this prestigious award is a testament to the dedication and commitment to all the Purdue professionals providing assistance across the state to help those working in all sectors, including agricultural, education, health, veterinary medicine, life sciences and engineering. The Center for Regional Development also is a huge asset for Indiana residents.”

Provenance rendering Single-family detached homes will create a walkable, new urbanist neighborhood called “Provenance” as part of a residential village being developed by Old Town Design Group in the Discovery Park District in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Image provided by Old Town) Download image

Purdue launched the Center for Regional Development in 2005 to deepen its economic engagement across the state and region. The center leads a variety of initiatives to address the unique needs of each community it works in and spur development across the state. Partnering with Ball State University, the center’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative works to grow local capacity in leadership and economic place making. The center has worked with 19 Indiana communities, leading to the development of community parks, entrepreneur resources and neighborhood revitalization.

Also contributing to a sense of “place” for the university and surrounding areas is the $120 million State Street Redevelopment Project completed last year through a partnership among Purdue and the city of West Lafayette. The project spurred over $1 billion of development including the Discovery Park District, a long-term project to build a preeminent environment for educational, economic, cultural and community activities through a partnership between Purdue Research Foundation and Indianapolis-based Browning Investments LLC

“We place particular emphasis on sparking civic spirit and an important part of that is a ‘sense of place’ for those living and working at Purdue and across the state,” said Greg Deason, senior vice president of entrepreneurship and place making for Purdue Research Foundation. “There are few endeavors more rewarding than contributing to the well-being and growth of a community and a region, and that makes the hard work and dedication the most worthwhile.”

Purdue also has invested in two Purdue Polytechnic High School locations in Indianapolis with a goal to fully prepare high school students who otherwise might not have the opportunity for high-tech and STEM-related careers. A video about the high school can be viewed here.

The other land-grant university finalists for the association’s 2019 awards are California State University, Northridge; the University of Michigan; North Carolina State University; the University of South Florida and Wayne State University that along with Purdue are competing for the four different awards are Talent; Innovation; Place; and Economic Engagement Connections.

Winners will be announced at the APLU 2019 Annual Meeting, to be held Nov. 10-12 in San Diego.

In 2016, Purdue was named the top award recipient for the association’s Innovation  award for its work in entrepreneurship and technology-based economic development. Deason received the award on behalf of Purdue and Purdue Research Foundation.

“To be named a finalist for the ‘Place’ award this year is truly representative of what it means to be a land-grant university,” Deason said.

As described in the association’s Economic Engagement Framework – a series of tools and publications that helps institutions plan, assess, and communicate their work in economic engagement, universities collaborate with their public- and private-sector partners in their states and regions to promote economic growth, competitiveness and opportunity through a variety of programs.

“We applaud this year’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards finalists for their exceptional contributions to regional economic engagement,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “Their work demonstrates what’s possible when public universities collaborate with other stakeholders to drive progress in their communities. We’re thrilled to recognize their work.”

To be eligible for an award, an institution must first earn the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from the association. To receive that designation, universities conduct a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement activities that includes input from external stakeholders. As part of the self-study, each institution identified areas for growth and improvement within its economic engagement enterprise and developed an improvement plan. This work demonstrated a commitment to continuous learning and improvement in this kind of engagement vital to universities and their regional partners. Since the program launched in 2012, 65 institutions have been named Innovation & Economic Prosperity universities.

About the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 239 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research and expanding engagement. Annually, its 197 U.S. member campuses enroll 4.1 million undergraduates and 1.2 million graduate students, award 1.1 million degrees, employ 1.1 million faculty and staff, and conduct $42.4 billion in university-based research.

About Purdue University

Purdue University, a top public research institution and Indiana’s land-grant university, offers higher education at its highest proven value, Committed to affordability, the university has frozen tuition and most fees at the 2012-13 levels. Committed to student success, Purdue is changing the student experience with greater focus on faculty-student interaction and creative use of technology. Committed to pursuing scientific discoveries and engineering solutions, Purdue has streamlined pathways for faculty and student innovators who have a vision for moving the world forward. 

Media contacts:

Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340,

Jeff Lieberson, 202-478-6073 (office), 202-236-2372 (cell), 


Greg Deason, 765-588-5254, 

Steve Abel, 765-494-2744, 

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