University earns unprecedented economic honour

Western’s commitment to economic engagement earned an unprecedented honour today, as the institution was named among the Class of 2015 Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in Washington, D.C. One of only 18 public institutions so honoured, Western was the first and only Canadian university to be recognized by the organization.

The designation acknowledges universities working with public- and private-sector partners to support economic development through a variety of activities, including innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development and community development.

“Western’s commitment to innovation and economic prosperity is embedded in our mission to benefit society through the excellence of our teaching, research and scholarship,” said Western’s President Amit Chakma. “The contributions our faculty, staff, students and alumni make to the well-being of the local, regional and national economies are massive in scope, and this recognition from the APLU is a new point of pride for all members of our campus community.”

Each university received the designation after conducting a self-review with outside stakeholder input and subsequently submitting an application that went through an independent review process.

As a result of this process, Western articulated its economic development and societal contribution at a local, regional and national level, an estimate that collectively exceeds $11.3 billion annually, including $3.6 billion annually in the City of London alone.

APLU noted designated universities, including Western, are leveraging their status as Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities to identify new areas of opportunity in aligning with economic development objectives. These institutions are developing deeper engagement with others in their regional innovation ecosystems, and making changes within the institution to expand their impact.

“APLU’s recognition helps to validate that our efforts to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture at Western, and to pursue more research, development and commercialization opportunities are on the right track,” Chakma said.

In addition to Western, the recognized institutions were:

  • Auburn University;
  • Binghamton University;
  • Clemson University;
  • East Carolina University;
  • Mississippi State University;
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology;
  • New Mexico State University;
  • Ohio University;
  • Southern Illinois University;
  • University of Arizona;
  • University of Kansas;
  • University of Louisville;
  • University of Maryland;
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln;
  • University of New Mexico;
  • University of South Florida; and
  • Utah State University.