͵ earns finalist honor for APLU Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards

As ͵’s Innovation Campus approaches its 10th anniversary, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities is recognizing the Innovation Campus’ role in cultivating research and innovation. 

The today named ͵ as one of five finalists for its 11th annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards. 

“On behalf of Shocker Nation, we are honored that the APLU has chosen Wichita State University as a finalist for the Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards,” said Dr. Rick Muma, president of Wichita State. “Our Innovation Campus is expanding, adding internships and hands-on learning opportunities for our students, creating jobs for our community, diversifying the Kansas economy, and helping us achieve our vision to be a premier urban public research university.” 

The winners will be announced during the association’s annual meeting in November. The finalists – the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and ͵ – are competing for different awards that recognize exemplary and innovative case studies of economic engagement impact: 

  • The IEP Talent Award, recognizing exemplary initiatives in education and workforce development.
  • The IEP Place Award, recognizing exemplary initiatives resulting in social, cultural, or community development.
  • The IEP Innovation Award, recognizing exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development.

“Wichita State is pleased to be considered for this award alongside our fellow IEP-designated universities,” said Tonya Witherspoon, associate vice president for industry, engagement and applied learning at Wichita State. “We received the IEP designation from APLU in November 2022, and are proud to be associated with the 80 other universities across the country who hold this designation.  To be recognized for our work in economic engagement impact is an honor that we are very appreciative of.” 

͵’s Innovation Campus provides a host of resources supporting applied learning, digital transformation, innovation, manufacturing, and entrepreneurship. The Innovation Campus provides access to research facilities, makerspaces, labs and top-flight centers and institutes targeted to the needs of the region and state and available to the university community and industry partners across the globe. 

All universities are finalists for the IEP Economic Engagement Connections Award, which is the top-prize in the awards competition, recognizing overall excellence and leveraging across all three award categories.  

“Congratulations to our 2023 IEP Awards finalists on their outstanding efforts to spurring innovation, prepare the next-generation workforce, and foster community development,” said APLU President Mark Becker.  

More information on Wichita State’s economic engagement initiatives: 

A steady stream of partners continues to engage with the university and Innovation Campus since its opening in 2014.  

Currently, there are approximately 50 businesses with locations on the Innovation Campus including Airbus, Hexagon, Dassault Systémes, Spirit AeroSystems, Textron Aviation, NetApp, and The Smart Factory @Wichita. Thanks to a grant from the federal Economic Development Administration awarded to WSU in 2022, the university will construct a new Hub for Advanced Manufacturing and Research on the Innovation Campus to aid in the rapid development and adoption of emerging smart manufacturing technologies for South Kansas industry partners.  

Beyond engineering, Wichita State’s Innovation Campus is home to WSU’s Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory; the Law Enforcement Training Center; Midwest Criminal Justice Institute; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ Gun Crime Intelligence Center of Excellence and National Ballistic Information Network Correlation and Training Center II. 

About the APLU 

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of more than 250 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 5.0 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.5 billion in university-based research. 


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