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UMass Lowell Named an Innovator for Economic Prosperity

University Only One of Two in New England Honored by Research Organization


Contacts for media:  APLU - Jeff Lieberson, 202-478-6073 or and UMass Lowell - Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or

WASHINGTON – In recognition of its strong commitment to economic engagement, UMass Lowell has been named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

The 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. UMass Lowell received 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.
UMass Lowell and 13 other public institutions comprise the second annual class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities. Members include Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, North Carolina State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston, University of Illinois, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Wayne State University.
“Public universities serve as economic engines for their local communities and states by conducting cutting-edge research to reach new breakthroughs and by developing the talent to help existing businesses grow stronger and enabling new ones to develop and thrive,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “The 14 institutions receiving the 2014 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation serve as models. They demonstrate how public research universities extend beyond their campuses to engage their communities in economic development that creates jobs and improves lives.”

“UMass Lowell’s economic leadership dates to its earliest days more than a century ago when we prepared managers and other leaders for the textile industry. Today, our researchers, students and faculty engage business and community leaders to create a diversified global economy by producing a skilled workforce and innovation in fields like life sciences, nanomanufacturing, biotechnology and more,” said Steven Tello, associate vice chancellor for entrepreneurship and economic development. “The APLU designation is an affirmation of our work and inspires us to grow these efforts.”  
APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) is continuing to lead efforts to help public universities plan, assess and communicate their work in local and regional economic development using the CICEP “Economic Engagement Framework” ( It includes tools for university self-assessment, metrics determination and economic impact analysis.
“Institutions engaging in the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities designation program have an opportunity to work with the framework to identify both institutional accomplishments in innovation and economic development and also areas for growth and improvement,” said Jim Woodell, APLU assistant vice president for innovation and technology policy. “Using one or more of the tools as part of their self-study, universities assess where they are and where they and their regions are headed.”

Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designees conducted an institutional self-study and solicited input from external stakeholders. Each university designee identified three areas of institutional strength in economic engagement and described programs in these areas. Designees also identified areas for growth and improvement for their university’s 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.
Applications for the designation were scored by a panel of reviewers representing other universities and also national partners, including the Association of University Research Parks, the University Economic Development Association, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the National Association of System Heads and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. Scoring was based on a range of criteria emphasizing universities’ development of their economic engagement enterprise, their planning efforts around economic engagement, strategic communications around these efforts and participation in encouraging economic engagement among peer institutions.
UMass Lowell now qualifies to submit an application for APLU’s 2014 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards, which will be given out at the association’s annual meeting in November. The awards include an IEP Connections award, recognizing the university that is doing the most to build connections between categories of economic engagement – innovation and entrepreneurship, talent development and social, community and cultural development. Best in Class awards will also be given in each category of talent, innovation and place.
APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization representing 234 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1887, APLU is North America's oldest higher-education association with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada and Mexico. Annually, APLU member campuses enroll 4.7 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.1 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff and conduct $41 billion in university-based research. 

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.ed u