AUSTIN, Texas—The Southern Growth Policies Board’s Southern Technology Council has listed The University of Texas at Austin among the top 10 percent in a study assessing the efforts of 164 research universities to help state and local agencies with economic development.
The Southern Growth Policies Board is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina committed to creating economic development strategies for the South. Its membership includes 14 Southern states and Puerto Rico but does not include Texas. A major part of its mission is conducting research on economic development issues, including workforce development, university technology transfer and the “digital divide.”
One of its current projects, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, is developing comprehensive case descriptions of how national research universities operate in a variety of areas. These areas include: inclusion of economic development in mission, vision and goals statements; pursuit of industry research partnerships; industry education/training partnerships; industrial extension/technical assistance; entrepreneurial development; technology transfer; faculty culture and rewards for participation in economic development activities; formal partnerships with economic development organizations; placement; and industry/university advisory boards and councils.
As a first step in the project, the council polled 40 practitioners, researchers and experts on economic development and university-industry technology transfer to identify which schools were seen as maintaining exemplary programs. The experts were given a list of 164 research universities (based on research and development expenditures) and asked to nominate the outstanding examples.
The survey results identified 16 universities that the polled experts consider the best in the nation in contributing to state and local economic development, with Georgia Tech topping the list by a comfortable margin of nominations. The council did not release the rankings of the other 15 universities but did provide a list of the institutions with an explanation that the list is not in order of ranking. The other top Southern universities included The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M (College Station, Texas), North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.), The University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.). Other exemplary institutions in the list of 16 included Carnegie-Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, Stanford University, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Utah, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Universities now play a critical role in economic development,” said Jim Clinton, director of the Southern Technology Council and acting executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board. “They generate new knowledge and new technologies, spin off high-growth businesses and train future workers. By working closely with state and local agencies, universities can become the engines of prosperity.”
For additional information, contact Mark Toscak, Southern Growth Policies Board, (919) 941-5145.