University of Georgia’s Archway Partnership and Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant were named finalists for the 2017 University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Awards of Excellence, a nationwide competition recognizing innovative programs that develop economic prosperity in their communities and beyond.

Also a finalist is the Innovation Gateway, a unit of UGA’s Office of Research.

The competing organizations were judged by a panel of university and economic development professionals on alignment of their institution’s core mission activities with regional economic development goals in three categories: Innovation, Talent, and Place, as well as the intersections of these three categories. Criteria for judging included originality, scalability, sustainability, impact, and the feasibility of other organizations replicating the initiatives in their communities.

The Archway Partnership, a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit that helps Georgia communities address critical, locally identified community and economic development needs, is a finalist in the Place category.

Archway projects have addressed infrastructure for growth and business recruitment, workforce development, leadership, tourism, downtown revitalization and other economic development needs in communities across Georgia.

Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant also was named a finalist in the Place category for its Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plans, developed in collaboration with UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government both are UGA Public Service and Outreach units.

In partnership with the coastal cities of Tybee Island and St. Marys, UGA faculty analyzed risks and vulnerabilities from tidal flooding and sea-level rise over the next 50 years, and developed a plan that enabled savings of $3 million on flood insurance for property owners. The plan has emerged as a model for other coastal communities across the country.

“Our mission as Georgia’s land-grant and sea-grant institution is to help communities address critical challenges, and these are great examples of how we are doing just that,” said Laura Meadows, interim vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach.

Innovation Gateway, a unit of UGA’s Office of Research, was launched in 2015 to consolidate UGA’s technology transfer and new business startup programs, thereby streamlining the path from lab or field to the marketplace. The goal was and remains ensuring that UGA research discoveries reach their full potential for public benefit and economic impact.

The 24 finalists in the competition will go on to compete at the UEDA Annual Summit to be held October 1-4 in Long Beach, Calif. UEDA represents higher education, private sector and community economic development stakeholders across North America.

“As the birthplace of public higher education in America, the University of Georgia is deeply committed to the economic vitality of this state and region,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “We are proud to see these research and service units recognized on the national stage for their dedicated efforts.”