Bringing Research and Business Together for Colorado

NCAR developed and Vaisala commercialized the dropsonde, a meteorological instrument that is deployed from an aircraft into hurricanes to improve both track and intensity forecasts

News & Events

Boulder, Colo., October 14, 2014 -- A trailblazing method to battle Lyme disease and a research project showing the true atmospheric effects of oil and gas development in the West are two of the Colorado scientific achievements that will be recognized on November 12 when CO-LABS and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy host a night to honor the achievements of Colorado’s federally funded research centers.

Ken Lund, Executive Director of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade will present the annual awards for “High-Impact Research” on November 12 to teams from four Colorado-based research centers for extraordinary research in the areas of Atmospheric Science, Foundational Technology, Public Health and Sustainability.

The CO-LABS 2014 Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research event highlights groundbreaking research including:

*A solar and wind prediction process that has saved consumers $40 million and dramatically increased the amount of renewable fuels available to the energy grid.

* A cutting edge project on cold-atom technology, which may lead to revolutionary advances in navigation and guidance, gas exploration, advanced communication and quantum computing.

“Researchers in Colorado’s federal laboratories continue to lead the nation with valuable study that addresses some of today’s most pressing problems,” said Scott Sternberg, chair of CO-LABS. “Our annual ceremony does more than just recognize new discoveries, it also celebrates the impact research and science have on our state.”

The 6th Annual Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research takes place Wednesday, November 12 at the Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80205. The event begins at 6 p.m.  The sponsor, the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, manages the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on behalf of the Energy Department.  NREL is the Energy Department’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

The annual reception is the major CO-LABS event to showcase Colorado’s research facilities and the work of the CO-LABS organization.

The award recipients include:

Atmospheric Science: “Into The Air,” Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Dr. Gabrielle Petron (CIRES) and Dr. James Roberts (NOAA) and a team of several dozen scientific colleagues in CIRES and NOAA were selected for investigating the atmospheric impacts of rapidly expanding oil and gas development across The West. The researchers relied on careful independent measurements and rigorous analysis to provide the public and policymakers with the hard data needed to improve understanding about air quality challenges in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and beyond.

CIRES “Into the Air” research is also receiving an Honorable Mention for its contributions to Public Health in improved air quality assessment.

Foundational Technology: “Commercialization of Cold-Atom Technology,” JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder

Professor Dana Z. Anderson was highlighted for his research on the practical applications of cold-atom technology. Anderson, co-founder of the company ColdQuanta, recently named Boulder Company of the Year by the University of Colorado’s Technology Transfer Office, has helped develop cold-atom inertial sensors and is building cold-atom technology for use on the International Space Station, beginning in 2016.

JILAs “Commercialization of Cold-Atom Technology” research is also receiving an Honorable Mention for their development of a strong public/private partnership.

Public Health: “An Oral Vaccine Produced in Rice Grain to Reduce the Risk of Lyme Disease,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Barbara J.B. Johnson of CDC and Dr. Ning Huang of Ventria Biosciences were chosen for their groundbreaking advances in the fight against Lyme disease. The Johnson and Huang team developed an edible vaccine bait for mice and other small rodents. When mice eat the vaccine bait in the lab, they do not get infected with Lyme disease bacteria and cannot transmit infection to feeding ticks.  Uninfected ticks cannot spread Lyme disease bacteria to people.  The vaccine next will be tested in the field in the northeastern United States. If this vaccine proves effective when deployed, it could reduce the threat of a disease that the CDC estimates affects about 300,000 people each year.

CDC’s Lyme Disease research is also receiving an Honorable Mention for their development of a strong public/private partnership.

Sustainability: “Optimizing Integration of Renewable Energy into the Power Grid in Colorado,” National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Dr. William P. Mahoney and the Wind Power Forecasting team were selected for devising a reliable means to predict wind and solar power generation. The work will make it more feasible for electrical utilities to use more renewable power in the future. NCAR’s research is also receiving an Honorable Mention for their development of a strong public/private partnership.

Honorable Mention

Sustainability: The Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) Project: Developing better ways to understand global and regional climate, especially water resources. (NCAR)

Dr. Kevin Trenberth and the GEWEX research team have a command of the dynamics of the hydrologic cycle, and how precipitation and water availability change as the climate changes. GEWEX brings together global researchers to develop better ways of collectively studying the water cycle and how to translate research results into practical applications.

CO-LABS is a nonprofit that works to inform the public about the breakthroughs and impacts from Colorado’s 30 federally funded labs and research facilities.

The CO-LABS consortium includes Colorado federal research laboratories, research universities, state and local governments, economic development organizations, private businesses and nonprofit organizations.

The Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research annual reception is the major CO-LABS event to showcase Colorado’s research facilities and the work of the CO-LABS organization.

Established in 2007, CO-LABS is a nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors.  For more information and to register for the event, go to www.co-labs.org.


Media May Contact:

CO-LABS - Meg Collins, megcollins@co-labs.org, 720-201-2870

NCAR – David Hosansky, hosansky@ucar.edu, 303-497-8611

CIRES – Katy Human, Kathleen.human@colorado.edu, 303-735-0196

CDC – Judy Lavelle, jyl2@cdc.gov, 970-225-4220

JILA – Julie Phillips, Julie.phillips@jila.colorado.edu, 303-492-7809

NREL – Heather Lammers, heather.lammers@nrel.gov, 303-275-4084