Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities Program

At Carolina, innovation means economic engagement

Through the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities Program, institutions of higher education are recognized as leaders in spurring and promoting regional economic development. The IEP Universities Program helps institutions to codify, elevate, and advance their economic engagement enterprise which encompasses the many and varied ways universities work with their public-private partners to carry out:

• Talent and workforce development
• Innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development
• Place development through public and community engagement

More than 60 institutions have earned this distinguished international recognition, UNC now among them. IEP Universities complete a rigorous self-study of their economic engagement enterprise that allows them to inventory their true societal and economic impact while identifying strengths and areas of improvement in economic engagement. They exchange ideas and best practices with peers around North America, and strengthen their overall ecosystem supporting economic prosperity.

IEP Designation Logo

Innovate Carolina was integral in UNC's designation as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University. ​

With the creation of the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, UNC has added innovation and entrepreneurship to its long-time priority of economic development and has worked to embed them throughout the University through increased collaboration, structural reorganization, and improved communication. Combining Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development (IEED) and elevating it to a top university priority is a critical step in realizing UNC’s vision and mission as a university established for the public good. 

It became clear that the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) designation would be integral in propelling UNC forward in its mission to becoming  a university for the public good. 

The IEP designation recognizes that UNC is a premier institution in the field of innovation and economic engagement.  To receive the designation, Innovate Carolina led UNC to implement the required framework. UNC hopes to use the APLU framework to renew UNC’s commitment to the state it serves, strengthen UNC’s innovation ecosystem, reframe UNC’s narrative around economic engagement and create opportunities for increased collaborations with internal and external partners. 

The IEP designation is helping to advance priorities at Carolina.

Click the links below to explore the I&E Dashboard or view the UNC Blueprint for next