Earlier this year, Virginia Tech was one of 14 public research universities designated an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Now the group has named the university one of eight finalists. 

Four award winners are scheduled to be announced at the group's Nov. 4 annual meeting.

"APLU is a lodestar in inspiring universities to play a strong role in strengthening local, regional, and statewide economies," says Guru Ghosh, vice president for outreach and international affairs. "Virginia Tech has committed itself to economic engagement since its founding. Being named as a finalist underscores the university's innovative faculty research and affirms its solid work with major industries and other partners, both in the public and private sectors."

The other seven finalists are Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, The Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Houston, University of Illinois, and University of Massachusetts Boston. 

Announcing the finalist list, APLU President Peter McPherson said, “The eight institutions have all demonstrated a clear commitment to economic engagement and have followed through by delivering results."

In applying for the award, Virginia Tech highlighted its almost $500 million research enterprise, built in part on research institutes focused on projects that can be quickly translated to practical effect. In addition, the Industrial Affiliates Program helps speed the transfer of knowledge to the public, allowing members early access to technical breakthroughs.

Relationships with industry include:

  • The Virginia Tech Transportation Research Institute's work with General Motors to study how drivers interact with automated car technology;
  • Joint operation of Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, operated by the university and the region's largest nonprofit healthcare provider; and
  • Virginia Tech's Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security housed alongside its private-sector partner, L-3 Communications, in the National Capital Region.

Virginia Tech is currently working to promote even more innovation in the university's research and creation of intellectual property in an effort that involves Provost Mark G. McNamee, the university's deans, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The group also includes Virginia Tech Foundation CEO John Dooley and Joe Meredith, president of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.