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Championing Colorado's World-Class Research Ecosystem
 
We Connect Colorado's Scientists,
Universities & Businesses

Federal lab

internships

& jobs

#ScienceMatters

DID YOU KNOW?

Colorado Has Over 30 Federal TaxPayer-Funded

Scientific Research Labs

From agriculture to aerospace, geology to GPS, extreme weather to quantum physics,

even wildlife biology to ice cores (and more!) the range of crucial,

world-class research in our state is astounding.

 

Nurturing this network is our mission.

We aim to keep these labs funded, and keep them here

We connect technologists to help manifest scientific discoveries improving the world -
Let us connect you with brilliance!

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PROMOTE

We get into the numbers, the ROI, answer the "who cares" question.

 

We promote the economic and intellectual value of taxpayer-funded research through reports, studies and media coverage.

EDUCATE

We spotlight incredible work by Colorado's world-class scientists.

We communicate the value of Colorado's federal research labs with newsletters, podcasts, social media and interviews.

CONNECT

We connect smart, curious people with scientific research labs.

We host lab tours, conference calls, workshops and special gatherings to connect you with brilliance.

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“CO-LABS does outstanding work for Colorado’s science community, supporting research labs that advance the frontiers of knowledge as well as sustain Colorado’s diverse economy. Its mission strengthens productive connections among research facilities and vital stakeholders across the state. I deeply appreciate the dedication of CO-LABS and look forward to continuing collaborations with this important organization.” 

- Antonio J. Busalacchi
President, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

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SAVE THE DATE: 

Wednesday, November 20, 2024

5:00 - 9:00pm

The CO-LABS annual Governor's Awards for High Impact Research event hosted at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  

 

Join 200+ scientists, technologists, academics, business leaders and a range of civic leaders and science champions to celebrate groundbreaking discoveries by scientists in Colorado for their achievements and innovative ideas. 

Registration and the event website will open in the fall.  (If you are a federally funded research entity and did not receive information, please email Awards @ co-labs.org. Submission deadline is June 27, 2024.)

See the 2023 winners' spotlight videos below, and the 2023 event website here. 

The annual Governor’s Awards provides a unique opportunity to recognize our state’s prestigious scientific community, and highlight their central role in worldwide innovation that significantly contributes to Colorado’s economy. 

2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research: Outstanding Early Career Scientist
04:40

2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research: Outstanding Early Career Scientist

On October 11, 2023 the annual CO-LABS “Governor’s Awards for High Impact Research” event recognized Dr. K Shankari at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with the Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award. See more about Dr. Shankari's research at https://www.nrel.gov/transportation/openpath.html See more about the Awards at https://www.2023govawards.com This Award recognizes outstanding scientific achievements by researchers in the early stages of their careers, with significant demonstration of initiative, collaboration skills and demonstrated exceptional potential to advance their field of study through their research and academic contributions. (*Early Career Scientist is defined as someone who received a Ph.D. or a Masters Degree within the past 5 years.) Dr. K Shankari was raised in a dense urban environment and her eighth-grade bicycle became a symbol of mobility and ignited her passion for equitable transportation. Despite facing personal challenges, she returned to academia decades later, pursuing a Ph.D. guided by advisors who shared her vision. Despite being met with skepticism and rejections, her journey has been a testament to resilience and dedication to science: she found her stride at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, developing NREL OpenPATH— a groundbreaking open-source tool that empowers communities to collect and analyze their own transportation data, removing financial barriers and democratizing access. Today, her role as Principal Software Architect at the U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation reflects her commitment to advancing transportation decarbonization. In her early career, Dr. Shankari encountered setbacks, facing skepticism from both academia and industry. Rejections during her post-graduate job search pushed her to the brink, but she found a supportive community at NREL. At that time she began attending her local bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee as a private citizen to stay up to date on and raise concerns about transportation safety and infrastructure. The City Council then selected her to serve on a five-person committee that presents recommendations regarding local transportation matters and proposals. During this time, she saw the limitations of transportation data collection with existing mechanisms, especially for bicycle and bus infrastructure proposals where car-oriented data models dominated the discussion. Dr. Shankari formulated the idea for what would later become NREL OpenPATH from this deficit in data that omitted the perspective of non-car users. She transformed her doctoral research and made it her mission to give transportation planners and stakeholders a tool that could provide a complete view of travel behavior by collecting data across all trips and all modes and calculating the corresponding carbon footprint. Dr. Shankari’s research is pioneering and exceptional, merging the disparate fields of computer science and urban planning with a passion for making transportation accessible to all. The NREL OpenPATH tool calculations are the first of their kind—homing in on improving the efficiency of transportation systems holistically and inclusive of understudied modes such as micromobility. In contrast to the transportation sector’s tendency to collect data on and optimize infrastructure for larger vehicles in urban areas, Dr. Shankari’s research bridges the data gap in real-world travel behavior in underrepresented, rural, and even remote communities. This can help address disparities in how transportation projects are funded and shift from a car-centric to a people-centric view of transportation decarbonization. With more than 15 communities around the world directly leveraging NREL OpenPATH to inform their micromobility programs and incentives, the tool is undeniably accomplishing its goal of improving access to often overlooked data. New collaborations are anticipated to follow as the tool continues refinement and will amplify the impact of Dr. Shankari’s research. She has become a pivotal figure in leveraging OpenPATH for impactful projects, including a successful collaboration with the Colorado Energy Office during the pandemic to deploy electric bicycles to low-income essential workers. Dr. Shankari has garnered awards and honors for both research excellence and mentorship at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: she received the prestigious Director’s Award for exceptional achievements in her OpenPATH project and commitment to mentorship based on written nominations from NREL associate and deputy laboratory directors in 2021. In the same year she was also honored as one of NREL’s Top 15 Outstanding Mentors for her eager and unwavering support of her mentees’ career growth. Outside of NREL, in her previous career in the tech industry, Shankari and her colleagues were awarded four patents related to distributed resource management for data centers.
2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research: Technology Transfer
04:14

2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research: Technology Transfer

On October 11, 2023 the annual CO-LABS “Governor’s Awards for High Impact Research” event recognized the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) with the Technology Transfer Award. The ITS is the research and engineering arm of National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) See more about the ITS research at https://its.ntia.gov/ See more about the Awards at https://www.2023govawards.com/ This Award recognizes research that resulted in a technological solution to a significant issue or challenge at a national or global level, that is “transferred” - provided by, licensed or leveraged by an outside entity, with widespread and/or significantly measurable societal utilization. The ITS team was tasked with assessing possible interference between the nationwide rollout of 5G wireless technology and aircraft radar altimeters, which inform pilots about their distance to the ground. This concern affected over $80 billion worth of investments in 5G wireless spectrum licenses. The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences team collaborated with wireless companies, airlines and federal agencies to design effective altimeter filters - allowing 5G services to operate safely near airports. In early 2022, AT&T and Verizon were preparing to commission 5G base stations throughout the U.S. using newly purchased licenses in the range 3.7-3.98 GHz (part of the C Band). Aviation authorities and airlines raised grave concerns that 5G transmissions near airports might interfere with radio altimeters (radalts) that operate in the range 4.2-4.4 GHz and lead to aircraft crashes, so full 5G commercial deployment in the C Band was delayed. Between them, these two carriers had paid about $69 Billion of the $80 Billion in total proceeds generated by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent auction of licenses to transmit in the C Band and they were anxious to begin realizing the benefit of their investment. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued an airworthiness bulletin warning of potential adverse effects on radio altimeters from 5G transmissions. This warning played a role in causing significant disruptions for aviation operations in the U.S.; in fact, some airlines began canceling flights. Major news outlets carried the story which resulted in headlines that caught the attention of policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. Negotiations between the FAA and cellular operators led to a compromise solution under which C Band auction winners agreed to postpone initial launch until they could come to agreement with the FCC on establishing operational parameters to ensure safe co-existence. ITS researchers designed, built, tested, and flew a novel airborne 5G radiation measurement system that exhaustively explored, through calibrated radiated measurements, the three-dimensional aerial radiation patterns and emission spectra of 5G base station transmitters then being commercially deployed in the United States. Crucially, the group’s work demonstrated that 5G transmissions should not interfere with radar altimeters that incorporate suitable altimeter receiver filters and suppression of 5G-base stations’ out-of-band and skyward emissions. For example, some of their research involved aircraft carrying representative examples of a wide variety of radalts (mostly military but some civilian and some dual-use) were used at Hill AFB in Utah (near Salt Lake City) and at Majors Airfield at Greenville, Texas (near Dallas). In these flight tests, aircraft with radalts were repetitively flown in closed-loop routes, such as traffic patterns. In some cases, U.S. Army helicopters were coordinated and specially equipped and ITS engineers operated the measurement system in the back seats of these helicopters as they flew above, below, around, and over the tops of every manufacturer’s 5G tower. All the measurements were performed via radiated 5G base station emissions at the U.S. Department of Commerce Table Mountain Radio Quiet Zone north of Boulder, Colorado. The data publicly released by this team - with open peer review by all stakeholders - was instrumental in resolving the grave concerns that 5G transmissions near airports might interfere with radio altimeters that had delayed full commercial deployment of 5G commercial services. ITS also collaborated with the FAA to develop mitigation methods and issue new airworthiness directives so 5G base stations and radalts could safely co-exist. On July 1, 2023, cellular operators were able to complete full-power deployments across the C-Band and take full advantage of their multi-billion dollar investment in spectrum licenses.
2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research - About the Event
02:29

2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research - About the Event

On October 11, 2023 the CO-LABS annual Governor's Awards for High Impact Research event was hosted at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. 200 scientists, technologists, academics, business leaders and a range of civic leaders and science champions gathered to celebrate groundbreaking discoveries by scientists in Colorado for their achievements and innovative ideas. The annual Governor’s Award provides a unique opportunity to recognize our state’s prestigious scientific community, and highlight their central role in worldwide innovation that significantly contributes to Colorado’s economy. The 2023 awards included: • The “We Are Water” project is this year’s winner of the Pathfinding Partnership Award, which brings together diverse indigenous, scientific and education partners to enhance community resilience in the face of climate impacts like drought and wildfire. The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, funded by the National Science Foundation, collaborated on water exhibits, storytelling sessions and community activities conducted in Navajo, Ute, Spanish and English languages. • Researchers from the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) received the Technology Transfer Award for swiftly addressing concerns about interference between 5G wireless technology and aircraft radar altimeters. With an impact of $80 billion on 5G wireless spectrum licenses, ITS collaborated with wireless companies, airlines and federal agencies to design suitable altimeter filters - allowing 5G services to operate near airports. • Dr. K. Shankari received the Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award for her groundbreaking research that empowers underrepresented communities to understand their travel behavior in the support of decarbonization. Shankari created an open-source transportation data tool at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO, which is now used by more than 15 communities worldwide to collect and analyze their own transportation data and shift behaviors from car-centric to people-centric decarbonization. • Dr. Alan Rudolph received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Recently retired as Vice President of Research at Colorado State University, Rudolph is a former leader of U.S. Biodefense, Biosecurity and Biotechnology programs at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Rudolph is also a serial entrepreneur and founder of Cellphire, a biotechnology company in phase II human clinical trials for freeze-dried platelets that drastically extend the shelf life of existing liquid solutions. Keynote speaker for the ceremony Dr. Jorge Rocca discussed the incredible research on fusion energy being conducted at Colorado State University and the recently announced $150 million partnership investment by Marvel Fusion to construct one of the most powerful laser facilities in the world on the Fort Collins campus. About the Governor’s Awards for High Impact Research: Started in 2009, the annual Governor's Awards for High-Impact Research celebrates the brilliant ground-breaking discoveries and innovative research from Colorado’s ecosystem of federally-funded laboratories and institutions. That year, following the creation of CO-LABS in 2007, Governor Bill Ritter suggested hosting a celebratory and spotlighting event; the various labs were prompted to submit nominations and a Selection Committee was convened of professional researchers, technologists, academics and economic development experts to identify remarkable research having “high impact” on society. Each year at this event, CO-LABS spotlights the men and women creating our future through brilliant technological and engineering discoveries in aerospace, energy, agriculture, public health, weather prediction, wildlife ecology, communication, earth science and dozens of other fields of research right here in our Colorado communities. Over the years, Colorado governors Bill Ritter, John Hickenlooper and Jared Polis have presented and/or spoken in support of the winners with these awards, recognizing their impact on our country's leadership in science. See the winners' spotlight videos at our playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Y3rNdAc1M&list=PL6buriUJ4t4Sju9SPQH763PEZU3cJIMZJ
2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research: Lifetime Achievement Award
05:25

2023 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High Impact Research: Lifetime Achievement Award

On October 11, 2023 the annual CO-LABS “Governor’s Awards for High Impact Research” event recognized Dr. Alan Rudolph with the Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing a leader in scientific research whose discoveries, vision and influence have revealed new understandings of foundational science and/or theories within a given field with profound results benefitting humanity. See more about the Awards and links to Dr. Rudolph's work at www.2023govawards.com. Dr. Alan Rudolph - recently retired VP of Research at Colorado State University; former CO-LABS Board Chair; former leader of the U.S. Biodefense, Biosecurity, and Biotechnology programs at the DARPA; and serial entrepreneur and founder of Cellphire, a biotechnology company in phase II human clinical trials for freeze-dried platelets - has had an illustrious career marked by a profound commitment to scientific innovation and collaboration. He has published over 100 papers and 15 patents. While serving as the Vice President for Research at Colorado State University (CSU), he orchestrated a transformative journey that elevated CSU into the prominent research institution it is today. Under his visionary leadership, CSU's research enterprise flourished, achieving total sponsored expenditures of $456.9 million, solidifying CSU's position among the nation's foremost research universities. Dr. Rudolph's enduring commitment to interdisciplinary research led to the inception of influential research hubs such as the Center for Healthy Aging, One Health Institute, and Data Science Research Institute. Additionally, Dr. Rudolph played a pivotal role in the realm of robotics, collaborating with Boston Dynamics on groundbreaking projects. Dr. Rudolph’s German short-haired pointer, Laney, was the inspiration behind BigDog, the remarkably lifelike four-legged robot used by the Pentagon. In collaboration with the renowned robot maker Marc Raibert, Dr. Rudolph initiated the creation of "BigDog." This remarkable four-legged robot captured the imagination of millions through its ability to navigate challenging terrains and carry substantial loads. Beyond its captivating locomotion, BigDog showcased the potential of robotics in addressing critical military logistics challenges. His involvement with Boston Dynamics showcased his powerful imagination and dedication to pushing the boundaries of technology, enabling robots to achieve feats previously thought impossible. Its exceptional feats of balance and mobility underscored the convergence of technology and biology and exemplified the potential of robotics and automation in diverse applications. Dr. Rudolph's dedication to leveraging “bioimagination” extended to improving the lives of individuals grappling with physical disabilities. He was instrumental in pioneering brain-machine interface technology, as demonstrated during the 2014 World Cup when a paralyzed individual operated a robotic exoskeleton using their brain. This groundbreaking initiative showcased the potential of technology to bestow newfound independence on those with paralysis. Dr. Rudolph has also recognized the potency of collective problem-solving by uniting institutions, individuals, and sectors, addressing challenges such as infectious diseases and national security. His advocacy for investments in research institutions has resulted in crucial public assets such as the Colorado State University Regional Biocontainment Laboratory which provides a safe, secure, state of art facility for university investigators, government scientists and industry representatives to collaboratively research bacteria and viruses that cause human and animal disease. Likewise the Infectious Disease Research Center at CSU provides a research environment for developing new scientific discoveries, vaccines, methods of diagnosis, and therapeutic agents for infectious agents and is among the world’s leaders in researching West Nile Virus, drug-resistant Tuberculosis, Yellow Fever, Dengue, Hantavirus, Plague, Tularemia and other diseases. Dr. Rudolph's efforts to raise awareness within funding agencies and congressional supporters have paved the way for sustaining these and other critical institutions. His visionary leadership also extended to CO-LABS, where he served as a Board Director and Chair for several years, expanding the organization's engagement with federal elected officials and across scientific agency leadership. In the words of Dr. Ray Goodrich,the Director of the IDRC who has worked closely with Dr. Rudolph, "Dr. Alan Rudolph is an incredible leader, a great friend, a wonderful collaborator, and a fantastic resource for the state of Colorado and the United States." Dr. Rudolph's journey is a testament to the transformative power of science and research in shaping a brighter future for all. CO-LABS is grateful and proud to recognize him with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award while also looking forward to the next chapters of his visionary story to unfold!

2023 Event Presented by:

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Hosted by:

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CIRA tour
NIST Public Safety Communications Resear
Dept of Interior drone use
NREL ESIF
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NSF Ice Core Research Lab
NCAR
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NOAA ESRL
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The NSF/NCAR Gulfstream-V
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