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2018 Governor's Awards for High-Impact Research

CO-LABS Announces Winners of 2018 Governor's Awards
for High-Impact Research
Tenth Annual Event Honors Colorado’s Top Scientists and Engineers
for Projects Having a Significant Impact on Society

DENVER, CO - September 15, 2018: CO-LABS has announced the four winners of the 2018 Governor's Award for High-Impact Research. Now in its 10th year, the event gathers scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials to celebrate the exceptional and groundbreaking work of scientists and engineers from Colorado’s federally-funded research labs and institutions.

2018 CO-LABS Governor's Awards for High-Impact Research
2018 WINNERS: 
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Metabolic biomarkers for improved diagnosis and prognosis of early Lyme disease
• JILA - Revolutionizing ultrafast and nanoscale imaging through the research and development of tabletop x-ray sources
• National Renewable Energy Laboratory - A sustainable, elegant solution to produce cost-competitive acrylonitrile
2018 Honorable Mention:
• CIRES - Consumer Products' Emissions - Pioneering work on growing emissions from consumer products improves scientific understanding of air pollution and benefits environmental regulation and policy

The winners will be formally recognized and celebrated on Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 5:00pm-9:00pm at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard in Denver, Colorado.

Tickets and registration details are available at

“These discoveries highlight the diversity and impact of the science and technology coming out of Colorado’s research labs that make our state and the world a better place. We are indeed fortunate to be home to an incredible concentration of brilliant scientists whose work is having profound impacts on society,” said Governor John Hickenlooper.  “These discoveries make our country stronger and also transcend the boundaries of Colorado to have truly global benefits. The issues the winners have worked on: from Disease Diagnosis and Air Pollution Assessment, to Nanoscale Imaging Technologies and Biomass Manufacturing – these are some of the most challenging themes facing humanity. We are all better off because of their tenacious, inspiring efforts to learn more and to solve vexing problems.”

“We are thrilled to celebrate the announcement of 2018 Governor’s award for High-Impact Research to JILA’s Ultrafast Imaging Team, led by Professors Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn,” said Fellow and Chair of JILA Dr. Thomas Perkins. “This award honors their triumvirate of ongoing success: pioneering the frontier in ultrafast x-ray laser science and application, training dozens of young scientists, and growing a successful Colorado high-tech company.”

Xcel Enerrgy Colorado President Alice JacksonThe event will also feature keynote speaker Alice Jackson, President of Xcel Energy – Colorado, who will discuss Xcel’s partnerships with federal research laboratories such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). 2014, NCAR  was a Governor's Awards winner for their Wind and Solar Power Forecasting System discoveries, which have been a resource for Xcel Energy's integration of renewable energy into the power grid.

Additional prominent guests include Dr. Walter Copan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology & Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Dr. Martin Keller, Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) & President of the Alliance for Sustainable Energy;  Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and Dr. Waleed Abdulati, Executive Director, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.


Colorado’s Chief Innovation Officer Erik Mitisek will be the Master of Ceremonies. 

“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.