On Dec. 1, the Association of University Research Parks named Gov. Dave Heineman as an honoree for its Leadership Award for his work on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Nebraska Innovation Campus. On Dec. 16, Nebraska Innovation Campus Director Dan Duncan presented the AURP Leadership Award to Heineman on behalf of the association. Duncan was at the association's international conference in New Orleans and accepted the award.
NU President James B. Milliken and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman were at the award presentation to the governor at Whittier Research Center, along with the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corp. board of directors.
According to an AURP news release:
"The Leadership Award was presented to the Honorable Dave Heineman, Governor of the State of Nebraska. At a time when every state is facing fiscal challenges, Gov. Heineman introduced a comprehensive package of proposals designed to reposition Nebraska to better compete in the innovation economy. Based upon a series of recommendations derived from a comprehensive statewide study assisted by the Battelle Institute, the Talent and Innovation Initiative (TI2), adopted by the Nebraska Legislature in a series of unanimous votes, committed the State to $42 million over the next two years in support of development of the Nebraska Innovation Campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and creation of a sweeping set of new economic development programs. Gov. Heineman played the key role in passage of TI2, tirelessly explaining the need for new investments in the state’s future at a time of economic uncertainty."
The honor was one of several awards of excellence presented at that AURP annual meeting.
The Association of University Research Parks is a professional association of university related research and science parks. AURP’s mission is to foster innovation, commercialization and economic growth through university, industry and government partnerships.
At the presentation Heineman said he was honored, and that the Nebraska Innovation Campus project is very much a team effort — and building on his initiatives and focus on education and economic development.
"This is very, very important to our state and important to the university," Heineman said. "…What this can mean for the private sector, what it can mean for undergraduate and graduate students at the university to be doing research at Innovation Campus."
"This is an exciting opportunity for our state. I'm grateful to the university, you're the ones who are going to make this happen."