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K-State Today

October 29, 2021

Center on Aging, Austin Pfannenstiel selected for Excellence in Innovation and Economic Engagement awards

Submitted by Livy Seirer


The Kansas State University Center on Aging and Austin Pfannenstiel have been selected as recipients of the 2020 and 2021 Excellence in Innovation and Economic Engagement Award.

Faculty at the Center on Aging intentionally pivoted their work to advance talent, innovation and place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group was selected for the award because of the important impacts on the local, state and national issues affecting long-term care facilities, measurable impacts of the program on rural communities, significant talent and workforce education, collaboration within the university and innovative method used to provide critical care services to communities. Laci Cornelison, instructor and PEAK 2.0 project coordinator, and Erin Yelland, interim director, accepted the award on behalf of the center.

"We are excited, humbled and proud to receive this award," Cornelison said. "The PEAK 2.0 program exemplifies what can happen when the university, government (Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services), and private industry come together successfully, benefiting frail elders in our state's long-term care homes and the communities where they are located through person-centered care."

Pfannenstiel, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, was chosen because of his exemplary collaboration within the university community and for working through the strenuous Food and Drug Administration approval process to secure significant Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer funding. According to the external award review panel, Pfannenstiel's work shows strong economic impact across new sectors, involves novel technology with multiple patents, produces impressive metrics and has great potential for future economic growth of the state and region.

"We are very deeply honored to receive this award," Pfannentstiel said. "The accomplishments it highlights would not have been possible without the very early and continued dedicated support from K-State Innovation Partners, the Colleges of Engineering and Veterinary Medicine, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. We look forward to continuing collaboration with the K-State team as we work together to expand access to minimally invasive treatment for patients with cancer and other diseases."

The winners were chosen by a panel of external reviewers and were recognized at Research Connections — an event designed to give K-State researchers an opportunity to learn what their colleagues are doing, promote their own work and explore possible collaborations.

The Excellence in Innovation and Economic Engagement Award was created in 2017 as a result of K-State being named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity for the institution's strong commitment to economic engagement.

The award recognizes faculty and staff, centers, institutes and units engaged in work that advances innovation and economic prosperity in our region and recognizes exemplary economic engagement in talent, innovation and place.