The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research’s mission to be a driver for economic transformation continues to attract national attention. The institute, based in Danville, Va., is a finalist for the U.S. Economic Development Administration Excellence in Economic Development Awards for 2005.

These awards will honor the best practices nationwide in action-oriented, market-based strategies to ensure success in the 21st century’s global economy.

IALR is one of three finalists in the Excellence in Innovation category, an award that recognizes initiatives that incorporate innovative strategies for maximum results. The other two finalists are major projects from Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

“This recognition illustrates the IALR is on the right track towards revitalizing the region’s economy,” said Executive Director Timothy V. Franklin. “Being a finalist for EDA’s innovation award is wonderful national publicity for the progress being made in Southside Virginia. Virginia Tech and IALR’s distributed research model for economic transformation is an innovative approach at addressing the region’s pressing issues. It is also a model that can be replicated in other areas of the country.”

Virginia State Senator Charles Hawkins believes that Southside is on the “right track” with its economic development efforts.

“The IALR represents a forward-thinking approach towards economic development that will greatly benefit future generations living in Southside,” said Hawkins. “It is a great honor for IALR and the region to be recognized for its hard work in diversifying the economy.”

“The IALR is helping our region to achieve transformation by symbolizing change, encouraging targeted research, empowering communities, and working as an ally with local and regional economic development agencies.” said Danville city manager Jerry Gwaltney. “The mission of IALR has helped to influence outside companies, such as Luna Innovations and EIT, to relocate to this area. The fact that an initiative from rural Virginia is competing against projects from Philadelphia and Los Angeles speaks highly for our ability to compete with larger markets.”

The Excellence in Economic Development Awards Ceremony will be held at the EDA’s “Symposium for 21st Century Economic Development” on Sept. 22 in Arlington, Va.


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