With one of the highest concentrations of federally funded science and research labs in the nation, Colorado is home to more than 4,500 scientists and engineers. Federal labs contribute greatly to the evolution of Metro Denver’s high-tech industries and generate an estimated $720 million annual economic impact to the region. The labs also facilitate significant tech transfer opportunities among educational institutions and local companies in critical areas such as climate research, space science, and renewable energy development.
Over $1.5 billion in research funding poured into the region's universities and research centers in 2007 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), and other government and private sources. University of Colorado (CU-Boulder) ranked first among 150 U.S. public universities for federally financed research expenditures. CU-Boulder attracted $640.1 million in research awards and Colorado State University had a record-breaking year with $296 million in research expenditures.
Major federal labs, research universities, and research centers:
- Colorado School of Mines (CSM) - regarded internationally for its research institutes
- Colorado State University - at the forefront of research and technology transfer in agricultural sciences, biomedical sciences, engineering, the environment, information technology, nutrition, and human health
- Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) - dedicated to research targeted at all aspects of Earth System Science and communicating its findings to the global scientific community
- Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) - directs research in the atmospheric sciences into practical applications in weather and climate
- Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (ERI) at the University of Denver (DU) - conducts basic biomedical research that may lead to new therapies for Down syndrome, ALS, cancer, autism, diabetes, and obesity
- National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) - managed by UCAR, is a National Science Foundation R&D Center
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) - promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology
- National Jewish Medical and Research Center - the nation's top respiratory hospital (U.S. News and World Report)
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - the federal government's top agency for monitoring our climate, the space environment, and ocean resources
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency R&D
- University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) - dedicated to exploring and studying our atmosphere and its interaction with the sun, oceans, biosphere, and society
- University of Colorado (CU-Boulder) - a myriad of institutes, centers, and laboratories in space sciences, bioscience, physical sciences/engineering, and natural sciences