Colorado’s true economic engine

Few would think of a laboratory when contemplating what fosters economic growth in Colorado. Construction, tourism, manufacturing, retail, energy, real estate, government and other sectors more easily come to mind.

While those industries do constitute important parts of Colorado’s economic mosaic, they don’t reflect another important fact: Research drives the Colorado economy. From Colorado State University in Fort Collins to the University of Colorado in Boulder, from CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus to the Colorado School of Mines, researchers are making discoveries, creating new products and advancing science.

Along the way, researchers at these universities and their colleagues at federal laboratories in Boulder, Jefferson and Larimer counties help pump billions of dollars into the Colorado economy and spur jobs in the private sector, whether at local high-tech companies or in other industries.

Here are some staggering numbers:

• CSU alone expends more than $330 million in research dollars annually.

• CU-Boulder secured $359.1 million in sponsored research.

• CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus brought in $400.1 million.

Bioscience, clean technologies, environmental engineering, aerospace and atmospheric sciences are just examples of the major industry sectors that benefit from Colorado’s research universities and federal laboratories.

Local universities and laboratories contribute to the state’s economy through direct employment and purchases, but also by providing a foundation for key industries: research generates jobs and investment, with spinoff companies, contract research, and patent work. Many high-tech companies locate along the Front Range specifically because of the presence of our universities and laboratories.

Identifying the scope of the academic research community’s impact on the Colorado economy is a monumental task, and one that we’ve embraced with this new annual publication, Research Colorado. Our company, BizWest Media LLC, publishes several regional business publications, including the Boulder County Business Report and the Northern Colorado Business Report, as well as numerous magazines and industry directories.

As we surveyed the economies of the Boulder Valley, Northern Colorado and the entire state, we have been amazed at the innovation and economic development that can be traced to our research universities and federal laboratories.

With that in mind, we are pleased to present this newest addition to our publishing library, produced in cooperation with Colorado State University, the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. These three institutions are largely responsible for much of what we take for granted in Colorado: quality high-tech jobs and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Research Colorado features articles highlighting the economic impact of the universities and federal laboratories, key areas of scientific excellence and profiles of new initiatives and researchers.

In addition, each of our sponsoring universities is featured in eight-page sections highlighting key areas of strength at their particular institutions.

This publication is being distributed through the sponsoring universities, economic-development agencies along the Front Range, through direct mail and as inserts in our two Colorado business publications.

In addition, visit for all of the content, with new features added throughout the year.

We’re grateful for the help and support of officials at CSU, CU-Boulder and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. We also welcome your ideas for our next edition.

Christopher Wood is publisher of the Boulder County Business Report. Jeff Nuttall is publisher of the Northern Colorado Business Report. Both are managers of BizWest Media LLC. They can be reached at and, respectively.v

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