Innovation & Economic Prosperity University

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) designated the University of Illinois an “Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University.” This designation, which is valid for five years, recognizes institutions that work to advance the economic well-being of their states, regions, and the nation through a variety of exemplary, innovative, and sustainable efforts.

As part of the IEP application process, the President’s Office led an institutional self-study to map out its broader innovation and economic development activities. Through this comprehensive review, which included interviews with units across our campuses, the University highlighted recent achievements, including improving the region’s manufacturing competitiveness, expanding entrepreneurial capacity, and engaging innovation clusters across the state. The review also honed in on unique growth opportunities.

“This process provided a unique opportunity for us to better understand the breadth and scope of our economic development efforts,” said University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter. “We thank APLU for recognizing the University’s accomplishments, and we look forward to more great things in the years ahead.”

Designees are eligible to apply for the IEP Universities awards program, which recognizes the significant contribution and/or achievement by universities in developing innovation and entrepreneurship, talent, and place in their region, and in building connections across these types of contributions. Awards will be announced at APLU’s Annual Meeting in Orlando in early November. More information about the IEP Universities designation process can be found at


Economic development was officially added as a fourth mission of the University, alongside teaching, research, and public service, in 2000. In response, the University’s approach to innovation and economic prosperity has been strongly rooted in scientific research, discovery, and value creation.