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Posted: June 01, 2011

Research rock stars

Chris Shapard

What are research rockstars?
MIT and Stanford know what they are. But does Colorado?

What and who are Colorado's research rock stars?

They are the men and women at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Colorado School of Mines who make game-changing discoveries in their labs AND are engaged in seeing those discoveries translated into products to be used for the greater good. They are researchers and entrepreneurs. They are Rock stars! We're so excited to share their stories here.

Why do we care?

The researchers commercializing university discoveries bring value to Colorado in several ways. The intellectual property (IP) produced by them within our research institutions is an asset of the state. If it is determined that the IP has market potential, then there are opportunities to move it into the marketplace by licensing it to a company.

When licenses are agreed upon and royalties received, the resulting revenues return to our state institutions. At a time when state support of higher education is at its lowest point, this provides a means to backfill the missing state funding.

Our research rock stars are also instrumental in creating jobs in Colorado. When a company licenses university technology and sets up shop in Colorado, it begins to create direct jobs within the company - hiring scientists, business development and other executive talent. Additionally, startup companies require the services of accountants, attorneys, prototyping companies and other contractors that help grow employment in those sectors, as well. So, you see, these Research Rock stars really do influence job growth in Colorado.

Colorado Clean Technology Discovery Evaluation Grant Program

It takes a lot of hard work and money to successfully commercialize research discoveries. That's why the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association has worked diligently to fund the "Clean Technology Discover Evaluation Grant" program.

With the passage of SB 11-47 by the 2011 General Assembly, $2 million per year of grant funding will available for 10 years to conduct market assessments of technologies within the universities, to support companies commercializing university technologies and to initiatives that bridge the research-industry gap.

Funding at this early R&D stage has been proven to create jobs and companies, and is used as leverage to attract the professionally managed investment capital that our companies need to grow.

CCIA's Celebrate Cleantech Research!

As the only statewide cleantech organization working with CU, CSU, CSM and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to help bridge the divide between research and commercialization, the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA) believes it is important to recognize the gems we have in Colorado.

Kudos and congratulations go to Katie Johnson at Colorado School of Mines, Amy Prieto, Bryan Willson, W. S. Sampath and Chuck Henry at Colorado State University and Bob Erickson, Gregor Henze and Al Weimer at the University of Colorado. We appreciate their scientific brilliance and entrepreneurial vision that enables their technology to move into the global marketplace.

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Chris Shapard is executive director of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association.

 

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