Campus News

Economic Development Collaborative publishes annual report

Photo of the Lexington skyline
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 1, 2024) — The Economic Development Collaborative (EDC), a network of campus and community stakeholders who oversee the University of Kentucky's economic development and business engagement activities, has recently published their 2023 annual report.

One of the primary functions of the EDC is to effectively communicate and coordinate the economic development efforts of UK. The annual report serves as one of the tools for fulfilling this function. It is crucial to emphasize that the news featured here does not exclusively represent the work of the EDC, but rather highlights the contributions of various collaborators throughout UK.

Additionally, the report reviews the EDC’s progress with five bold ideas and five goals.

“One of the first actions of the EDC was to focus on three bold ideas that would proactively grow economic prosperity in the Commonwealth. Now that the first three bold ideas have gained traction and enter their second phase, two additional bold ideas have been added,” said George Ward, EDC chair and associate vice president for economic development and real estate at UK. “This focus helps UK achieve its economic development goals which are reported on in this annual report.”

Some of the report’s highlights and milestones include:

  • A first-year class of nearly 6,500 students this fall pushing UK’s overall enrollment to a historic high of 34,000 students. The number of degrees conferred by the university, reached nearly 8,200 in the last academic year.
  • The Office of Technology Commercialization submitted 114 invention disclosures, 161 patent applications and were issued 32 new patents. A total of 37 new licenses and options were executed and five new startups affiliated with UK were launched. 
  • The official ribbon cutting of the new regional headquarters of Kinetic by Windstream at the Coldstream Research Campus.
  • The development and launch of the holistic business engagement system, OneUK.
  • UK Purchasing increased its diverse vendors from 1,359 in FY22 to 1,866 in FY23, a 37% increase.

“Looking back over the past year, I clearly see the enhanced focus and momentum that has been built around economic development at UK and for the Commonwealth,” said Melody Flowers, UK assistant vice president for economic development and real estate. “I am excited to expand on this work in 2024.”

This publication is the fourth annual report assessing economic development efforts at UK.

Access the full publication report at:

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.