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CO-LABS Announces Chasing Ice Photographer James Balog to Keynote 2017 Governor's Awards for High-Impact Research

Ninth Annual Event Honors Colorado’s Top Scientists and Engineers
for Projects Having a Significant Impact on Society

September 6, 2017: From the quantum realm of bioscience to the vanguard of atmospheric physics, from the technology advancing new possibilities in manufacturing to crucial new assessments of severe weather – CO-LABS invites fellow champions of science to join the premier scientific research recognition event in Colorado with over 200 researchers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials as we celebrate the exceptional and groundbreaking work of scientists and engineers from Colorado’s federally-funded research labs: the 2017 Governor’s Awards for High Impact Research event on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

In addition - CO-LABS is pleased to announce James Balog will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 Governor’s Awards for High Impact Research event, speaking on “The Value of Scientific Research in the Anthropocene.” Mr. Balog is the world-renowned photographer featured in the Emmy Award-winning documentary Chasing Ice and founder of the Extreme Ice Survey. His insight into global environmental and societal trends, and the crucial role research plays in assessing complex factors shaping our world make him a compelling addition to this year’s CO-LABS Awards ceremony. 

“I've always believed that photography is a way to shape human perception,” says Mr. Balog.  “I look forward to joining the esteemed guests at the Governor’s Awards to discuss and share imagery that highlights the power of art and science to not only reveal incredibly profound forces in nature but also to be a source of inspiration and solutions to our most prevalent and pressing societal challenges.”  (Read more about Mr. Balog below.)

“The projects in this year’s CO-LABS High-Impact Awards spotlight what makes Colorado a leader in innovation It’s terrific to see research advance its partnerships with the private sector. The range of crucial and profound discoveries coming from these labs are a national asset,” said Governor John Hickenlooper.  “I congratulate the scientific teams for their groundbreaking work and am excited to see the mark they will leave on our state and society as a whole.” Representing Governor Hickenlooper at this year’s event will be the state’s Chief Innovation Officer Erik Mitisek.

The winners will be formally recognized and celebrated Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 5:30pm-9:00pm at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard in Denver, Colorado. Tickets and registration details are available at

This year's Winners are:
• JILA and Dr. Tom Perkins' New Twists in the Molecules of Life 
• NIST  - Seeing More with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) 
• NOAA/CU-Boulder/UCAR -  GPS Reflections: Innovative Techniques 
• CIRA - GOES-16 the New Generation of Geostationary Weather Satellites 

Also for 2017 there are three Honorable Mentions:
• USDA ARS - Sugar Beet research with High Impact in Colorado, the USA and the World
• CIRES - Snow Research Improves Avalanche Safety, Water Resource Management
• NOAA ESRL- Science on a Sphere and SOS Explorer visualization systems 

See the full research and project details for each at

The Governor’s Awards for High-Impact Research began in 2009 recognizing several brilliant scientific research discoveries with real-world impacts from the ecosystem of federal research labs, universities and research institutions in Colorado.

“We are thrilled and truly honored to be recognized with the Governor’s Award for High Impact Research.  The vision of Drs. Keller, Geiss and Rice, to envision new and innovative ways to use a scanning electron microscope, coupled with their hard work at developing and validating the techniques, led to this impactful achievement, which has already resulted in broad scientific accomplishment and commercial success, said Dr. Jim Feteke, Chief of the Applied Chemicals and Materials Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “Thanks so much to the CO-LABS Board of Directors and the Award Selection Committee for selecting our scientists for this prestigious honor.”

“Colorado has one of the highest per capita concentrations of federal science, research and engineering facilities in the nation, with renowned scientists whose research has global impact in a range of fields including agriculture, climate and weather, earth science, materials science, natural resource management, renewable energy, space physics and telecommunications,” said CO-LABS Executive Director Dan Powers. “This prestigious event provides a unique opportunity to connect with leading scientists, lab directors, business leaders and policymakers in an informal and celebratory setting, as we highlight the labs’ role in innovation and their significant contribution to the state economy.”

Started in 2009 by then-Governor Bill Ritter, this recognition effort starts with CO-LABS convening a special committee of academic researchers, technology transfer experts and science and engineering professionals to review nominations from the more than 30 federally-funded labs and research institutes in Colorado. Through a thoughtful and thorough process this group selects projects that have had a significant global, national or state impact resulting from a scientific breakthrough, change in public policy or development of a new technology.