The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today designated the University of New Mexico as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University. The prestigious designation acknowledges universities that are working with public and private sectors to support economic development through a variety of activities, such as innovation, entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and development of talent, workforce and community.

“UNM is thrilled to be recognized for this work with our public and private partners in New Mexico.” UNM President Robert G. Frank said. “We believe Innovate ABQ is the fuse that’s sparking economic change, fueled by our connections with Epicenter, FatPipe, Living Cities, ABQid and other initiatives that should hit full throttle in the next six to eight months. So the timing of this designation and its upcoming awards adds even more explosive momentum.”

UNM is among 18 public universities named in the 2015 class. The designation, which is valid for 10 years, is awarded in conjunction with APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP). It qualifies UNM to apply for specific IEP awards for exemplary achievement to be presented at the annual meeting in November.  

The awards are in four categories—one top award category for economic prosperity connections (for overall accomplishments) and three best-in-class categories for talent (education and workforce development), innovation (technology-based economic development) and place in their region (social, cultural or community development.)

“I believe our Rainforest in the Desert program, which is about empowering people to create innovation and economic value in their communities, helped UNM stand out from those applying for the designation,” said STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila, who is UNM’s Chief Economic Development Officer.  “Our unique programs, among them UNM’s internal (Economic Development Council) and external (Economic Development Forum) advisory groups, are focused on making the connections necessary for regional economic growth.”

Thirty member institutions have earned the IEP designation and eight have received IEP awards since the program’s inception in 2013. APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization of 238 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.