Mississippi State-led partnership wins innovation honor

Contact: Jim Laird

Mississippi State's Clay Walden (l-r) and Kathy Gelston receive on behalf of the university-led Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program the John I. Rucker Community Innovation Leadership Award from Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi, at the Conference on Innovation luncheon in early November.
Mississippi State's Clay Walden (l-r) and Kathy Gelston receive on behalf of the university-led Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program the John I. Rucker Community Innovation Leadership Award from Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi, at the Conference on Innovation luncheon in early November.

STARKVILLE, Miss.--A Mississippi State University-led partnership has been honored with statewide recognition for its work to create jobs, strengthen communities and foster innovation among entrepreneurs and manufacturers.

Innovate Mississippi presented MSU's Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program with the John I. Rucker Community Innovation Leadership Award earlier this month at its 15th-annual Conference on Innovation luncheon in Jackson.

"I am honored to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the broader Mississippi State University Rural Jobs Accelerator team and our strategic partners," said Clay Walden, director of MSU's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension Office and the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program principal investigator.

The coalition of five Mississippi State entities, Mississippi Development Authority and Innovate Mississippi is funded by four federal agencies.

"As we enter into the last year of the program, we are proud to report that we have already exceeded our objectives with over 700 jobs created and facilitating over $31 million in private investment. It has been exciting to see efforts make a difference across the Delta and Appalachian areas of our state," Walden said.

Innovate Mississippi presents the Rucker award to recognize outstanding efforts that have been formed in partnership with academia, government and the private sector with the mission to drive innovation-led economic development that benefits high-growth companies and communities.

The MSU Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program was selected for its outstanding efforts to strengthen communities, grow companies, develop entrepreneurs and expand manufacturing clusters, according to Innovate Mississippi.

"This recognition highlights the great work that the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator team is doing in our state," said Kathy Gelston, Mississippi State's associate vice president for corporate engagement and economic development.

"We are proud of the many roles that our researchers and resources play in Mississippi's economy," she said.

CAVS Extension is a major unit of the Engagement and Outreach Service at MSU's Bagley College of Engineering. See more at http://www.cavse.msstate.edu.

Innovate Mississippi is a nonprofit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for the State of Mississippi. Visit www.innovate.ms for more information.

Discover more about Mississippi's flagship research university at www.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate.

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