Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation infused, communities engaged

UNC-Chapel Hill has been named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public Land Grant Universities.

A 3-D printed hand.
Helping Hand Project, nonprofit organization based in Chapel Hill, NC that specializes in providing 3D printed prosthetic hands free of charge for children in need. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

With tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff immersed in what seems like limitless teaching, research and social engagement activities each day, it’s hard to fully grasp what takes place on a university campus. Even more difficult is understanding the social and economic effect of innovations sparked at a university once they extend beyond campus. Ideas move into communities. Discoveries reach the real world. And the lessons from class projects and internships translate into job-ready skills.

A national designation received by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows the strong campus-to-community connection that’s made possible through faculty and student innovations that serve the public.

On Nov. 11, the Association of Public Land Grant Universities named UNC-Chapel Hill an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University. APLU created the IEP designation to help universities codify, elevate and advance their campus enterprise supporting economic development. With this designation, UNC-Chapel Hill joins more than 60 other top institutions that have made an ongoing commitment to economic and community engagement.

“It is a great honor for APLU to recognize the economic and social impact that UNC-Chapel Hill makes in communities throughout North Carolina and around the world,” said Judith Cone, vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development. “Through this designation, we join other top universities in a community of practice that invests in turning ideas into practical benefit for the citizens we serve.”

The IEP designation concludes a rigorous two-year process of institutional self-study and collaboration with campus stakeholders to identify the strengths of the university’s economic engagement initiatives and opportunities for growth.

“Public research universities can maximize their contributions to economic growth, opportunity, and resiliency through their contributions to economic and community development,” said Sheila Martin, APLU’s Vice President for Economic Development and Community Engagement. “We are very pleased to be welcoming UNC-Chapel Hill into APLU’s community of IEP Designees. Carolina’s status as a designee signals its sustainable and demonstrable commitment to economic engagement.”

Continue reading on the Innovate Carolina website.