Three innovative partnerships developed in collaboration with NAU have earned a 2015 Excellence in Innovation Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

NAU was selected in the Regional and Economic Development category for its entry “Northern Arizona University as an Economic Development Collaborator: Developing Sustainable Models for Broad Based Highly Collaborative Successful Community Economic Development Partnerships.”

The university will be honored Oct. 25 in Austin.

“Our partnerships throughout Arizona play a crucial role in the success of NAU and of the community,” NAU President Rita Cheng said. “This is well-deserved award that recognizes the hard work and collaboration seen throughout northern Arizona.”

The AASCU awards recognize and honor member institutions that demonstrate excellence and innovation in their approach to achieving student success, regional and economic development, international education, teacher education, and leadership development and diversity.

NAU was recognized for its advancement of three community-development partnerships:

  • The Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, known as NACET, builds companies based on the intellectual property of NAU, TGen North and entrepreneurs in the region.
  • The Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona, or ECoNA, was developed by NAU and community leaders to improve economic development competitive and effectiveness.
  • Innovation Mesa, scheduled to open in July, was developed by NAU and the city of Flagstaff to solve a problem of appropriate support and real estate for bioscience and tech companies. As a business accelerator program, Innovation Mesa will give small businesses that are beyond the startup phase a place to operate and grow.

“The leadership and collaboration by the many economic development partners in the region is quite remarkable and leading to economic growth and success in the region,” said Richard Bowen, NAU associate vice president for economic development and president and CEO of ECoNA. “This award reflects the good work of the great many collaborators and leaders in Northern Arizona.”

Bowen cited NAU’s collaboration in developing a growing knowledge-based economy in the biosciences, technology, research, software, advanced manufacturing, astronomical sciences, higher education and medical services.