aerial view of UW–Madison and downtown Madison

UW–Madison's commitment to advancing industry and community engagement

Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP)

Why Champion Innovation and Economic Prosperity?


External and internal forces are driving us to deepen and strengthen industry engagement across campus. COVID has only accelerated the needs of industry and academia to expand mutually beneficial collaboration. From the need for applied research to executive education, to projects and programs which benefit our students, faculty and the companies and communities in our ecosystem, embracing industry collaboration is increasingly necessary.

Large federal and private/public investment opportunities are also evolving and it is increasing important to recognize the growing need for a network of diverse and regional partners.

Our goal is to recognize, adapt and increase opportunities to serve our stakeholders in collaboration with industry. Prioritizing innovation and economic prosperity is critical for UW–Madison’s competitive future, given our economic impact and the many roles we play in our local community, state, region and beyond.


UW–Madison’s place in the heart of the Midwest represents an emerging opportunity to fulfill our research, teaching and community missions:

Within our existing economic impact programs, we are looking to create synergies and extend our strengths while reducing barriers and inefficiencies to accelerate the creation and enable the support of stakeholder growth.

How do we Achieve Innovation and Economic Prosperity?

Complete an Institutional Self-Assessment

We have engaged internal and external stakeholders to identify UW–Madison’s strengths and areas of growth, with a focus on industry engagement.

Internal stakeholders included faculty, staff, leadership, and students; those external to UW–Madison included businesses, local and state government, members of local communities, and others.

Develop and Implement a Cross-Campus Improvement Plan

Once we better know UW–Madison’s impact on industry partners and our broader economic impact we will begin work on a campus-wide improvement plan. This plan will be developed with guidance from UW–Madison’s leadership and a variety of inclusive working groups. We will then implement our improvement plan that will demonstrate an institution-wide commitment and strategy for industry engagement, growth and opportunity.

Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Timeline

checked check box Fall 2020

illustration of connected nodes

arrow to next timeline element Assemble lead and working groups and develop IEP approach and plan

checked check box Fall 2021

illustration of compass

arrow to next timeline element Conduct further research, gather evidence and assess potential impact on identified areas of opportunity

checked check box Fall 2022

illustration of newspaper APLU announces newly designated IEP universities in November 2022

checked check box Spring 2021

abstracted illustration of conversation (dialogue boxes)

arrow to next timeline element Embark on a comprehensive self-assessment of cross-campus activities, resources and partnerships

unchecked check box Summer 2022

abstracted illustration of an institution: an image of a building

arrow to show plan will continue into the future Introduce industry engagement improvement plan; submit APLU IEP designation application

What is the IEP Designation?

APLU Innovation & Economic Prosperity - program logo

Through our work and actions, the University of Wisconsin–Madison will pursue the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Designation from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). APLU is an organization dedicated to advancing the work of public universities by improving student success, advancing, and promoting research, along with building communities.

APLU and its Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) established the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities Program to help higher education institutions strengthen their strategy and practices in economic and community development while providing due recognition to institutions that are exemplary in their institution-wide commitment to regional economic engagement.

More than 65 institutions have earned this distinguished recognition including Purdue University, Penn State University, The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan.

How can I contribute to this effort or learn more?

We want to hear from you! Your contribution is vital and may be requested as a voice representing our various internal or external stakeholders. Should you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact our team.

Bob Gratzl
Assistant Director of Contracting, UW–Madison Research and Sponsored Programs

Stephanie Furlong
Special Projects Manager, UW–Madison University Relations