Eight years of collaborative energy research nets Colorado $194M

Between 2008 and 2015, the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory‘s state investment of almost $8 million was leveraged to attract more than $95 million in externally sponsored research, with an associated impact on the local economy of $194 million, a new analysis shows.

The “Collaboratory,” comprising Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was founded a decade ago as a clean energy research partnership focused on leveraging science and engineering capabilities at each member institution. Together with public agencies, private enterprises and nonprofit organizations, members work toward renewable energy solutions and technologies; support economic growth for renewable industries; and train and educate the next generation of energy researchers and workers.

The Collaboratory has released an eight-year analysis, spanning 2008-2015, of the state of Colorado’s return on investment for this uniquely productive, multilayered partnership.

According to the analysis conducted by Brian Lewandowski, an economist at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, the initial state investment of $7.96 million led to another $96.6 million from industry, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation and other sources in support of Collaboratory research between 2008-2015.

The total impact constitutes a return of 24:1 on the state’s original $7.96 million investment.

In short, the state’s investment in the Collaboratory has been “extraordinarily productive: economically, scientifically and technologically,” according to the report.

The Collaboratory is primarily a research organization, dedicated to creating and commercializing technologies for clean energy. Its collaborative, university-based, industry-supported structure was commended as a model for technology transfer efforts by DOE laboratories in a 2014 Brookings Institution report, Going Local: Connecting the National Labs to their Regions for Innovation and Growth.

Areas Collaboratory researchers have focused on include fuels from cellulosic biomass; fuels from algae; development of renewable carbon fiber materials; high-efficiency photovoltaics; and reduction of methane emissions from natural gas and other sources.

FINAL Collaboratory Economic Impact Report–Executive Summary only.
Collaboratory 2008-2015 Economic Impact Report — Long Version