Proenza named to National Academies policy panel


The Akron Model is going to Washington.

University of Akron President Luis M. Proenza, who has become a leading voice on the relationship of science, technology, and innovative research and national economic performance, has been appointed to serve on the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) at the National Academies, based in Washington, D.C.   

Composed of senior level industrial technologists, research scientists, academicians, economists and financial executives, the STEP board integrates understanding of scientific, technological and economic elements in the formulation of national policies to promote the economic well-being of the United States. A distinctive characteristic of STEP’s approach is its frequent interactions with public- and private-sector decision makers. STEP bridges the disciplines of business management, engineering, economics and the social sciences to bring diverse expertise to pressing public policy questions.

As a member of the STEP board, Proenza will work closely with national leaders in their respective fields, including:

  • Clevelander and successful venture capitalist David Morgenthaler of Morgenthaler Ventures;
  • Laura D’Andrea Tyson, former President Bill Clinton’s national economic adviser and current S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management at the University of California-Berkeley;
  • Alan Garber, provost of Harvard University;
  • Hal Varian, chief economist of Google, Inc.; and
  • John Donovan, chief technology officer at AT&T.

Proenza said his appointment to the STEP board came about as a result of growing national recognition of “The Akron Model,” the University’s robust and broad-based platform for regional economic development – a model which creates successful economic development partnerships to leverage resources with government, nonprofits, business and industry for collective impact on the community.

“As I have reported in the last two years, we are increasingly being asked to share the Akron Model before national and international audiences,” Proenza said. “As we did, the term ‘Akron Model’ came into use to describe the economic development program that has emerged from the work the University and our partners are doing as regional catalysts of the economic, social and cultural vitality of our communities. I’m pleased to join the STEP board and to participate in this important national and international forum.”

In 2011, Proenza was invited to tell the story of The Akron Model at economic development forums in Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Hawaii and Berlin, Germany.  The University co-sponsored the Cleveland event with the National Academies and NorTech, “Building the Ohio Innovation Economy,” where Proenza served as a convener and key presenter.

'Akron Model' as part of Vision 2020

“The Akron Model” also is a key component of UA’s new Strategic Plan, Vision 2020: A New Gold Standard for University Performanceserving as one of the University’s five strategic pathways to success as UA moves toward its 150th anniversary in 2020. This “tool chest” for strengthening the community expands the University’s role as an active agent of regional economic development that is globally relevant. Learn more about The Akron Model.

As president and chief executive officer of The University of Akron and through his leadership positions with numerous state and national organizations, Proenza has been a strong advocate for regional unity and identity, and boosting economic development throughout Ohio and beyond.

Nationally, Proenza is a member of U.S. Council on Competitiveness, where he serves on the Executive Committee and the National Innovation Initiative Leadership Council, and co-chairs the Regional Leadership Institute Steering Committee. He also is a member of the National Academies’ Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), and the Technology Innovation Program Advisory Board for the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Proenza also served previously on PCAST, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the nation’s highest-level policy-advisory group for science and technology. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of the States Science and Technology Institute. The president's website.

About the National Academies

The National Academies produces groundbreaking reports that have helped shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.  The organization was created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to meet the government’s urgent need for an independent adviser on scientific matters, and to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science.” As science began to play an ever-increasing role in national priorities and public life, the National Academy of Sciences eventually expanded to include the National Research Council in 1916, the National Academy of Engineering in 1964, and the Institute of Medicine in 1970.

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Media contact: Laura M. Massie, 330-972-6476 or 


Dr. Luis M. Proenza

Dr. Luis M. Proenza