MANHATTAN — Kansas State University has been named winner of a national award for extraordinary economic engagement efforts.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named the university the winner of its Innovation Award at its fifth annual Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards on Nov. 12.
Economic engagement efforts include 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. Kansas State University was recognized for outstanding work in technology transfer, entrepreneurship and business development.
Peter Dorhout, vice president for research, and Rebecca Robinson, director of economic development at the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, accepted the award on behalf of the university at the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
“Building the economic prosperity of Kansas has always been a priority at K-State, and we are pioneering efforts to understand what it means to be a 21st-century land-grant university,” said Richard Myers, president of Kansas State University.
According to Myers, advancing prosperity in our complex environment requires building innovative partnerships.
“K-State has excelled at embracing the diversification, technology and business-friendly approaches that collaboration and economic development require,” Myers said.
The university’s award application highlighted the K-State Knowledge Based Economic Development partnership, the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and the K-State Institute for Commercialization. Knowledge Based Economic Development has facilitated partnerships with Manhattan and private sector organizations that have resulted in the creation of hundreds of jobs in the area since the organization’s founding in 2008. The Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship provides mentorship, support and funding to entrepreneurs. In the last academic year, the center awarded more than $256,000 in grants to entrepreneurs. Finally, the K-State Institute for Commercialization facilitates technology transfer, strategic partnerships with industry, and research and development collaborations. The institute facilitates an average of 500 unique industry interactions each year. In the past five years, those interactions have led to nearly $15 million in corporate-generated cash royalties, funded research and company equity.
Dorhout said the organizations featured in the award application are representative of the university’s overall approach to engagement.
“We have developed a culture of engagement at K-State that starts with our faculty, staff and students, all of whom are working to ensure that our research makes it to the marketplace to help improve the lives of our citizens,” Dorhout said.
Dorhout noted that the university has developed processes that facilitate collaboration.
“We have built many partnerships in Manhattan and around the state, and K-State research and education programs add value to the people and the industries in the state,” he said. “We have more than 480 active collaborations with companies, plus groups facilitating the business development that creates jobs in Kansas.”
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity, which brings together public university leaders focused on economic engagement issues, designed and implemented the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Awards program. To be eligible for an award, an institution must first earn the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from the association, which Kansas State University received earlier in 2017. To receive that designation, universities conduct a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement efforts that includes input from external stakeholders and results in a growth and improvement plan.
The other finalists for the awards were the Georgia Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Maryland.
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