Daily Camera (Boulder)

CU Boulder nets $634M in annual research funding

- By Katie Langford Staff Writer

University of Colorado Boulder brought in an all-time high of $634.4 million in research funding in the last fiscal year, funding studies in transporta­tion, artificial intelligen­ce, space, climate change and more.

Beyond the dollar amount, CU

Boulder’s research enterprise translates into new businesses, workforce training and new intellectu­al property, said Terri Fiez, vice chancellor for research and innovation.

“We’re talking about 5,000 to 6,000 graduate students who work on these projects and who are working at the forefront of fields like artificial intelligen­ce, quantum and electric vehicle transporta­tion,” Fiez said. “They are being trained by the best in the world and going out to help build those industries in our state and beyond.”

Research at CU Boulder also resulted in the creation of 20 companies in the last fiscal year, Fiez said, double the number that are usually formed.

As a whole, the CU system brought in $1.45 billion in research funding across four campuses.

Projects at the Boulder campus included an internatio­nal collaborat­ion with the United Arab

Emirates to send a probe to Mars, the ASPIRE Engineerin­g Research Center to study the future of transporta­tion and a five-year project to study the role of artificial intelligen­ce in education and workforce developmen­t.

The funding also includes the newly-formed Navigating the New Arctic Community Office, part of a collaborat­ion between CU Boulder, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Pacific University to support research and research partners who are studying the changing Arctic.

The funding from the National Science Foundation means the community office in Boulder can be a hub to connect research and researcher­s across the country and beyond, said Director Matthew Druckenmil­ler.

As the Arctic changes in response to climate change, researcher­s and research partners from Indigenous communitie­s are looking at how to deal with food insecurity, thawing permafrost and receding sea ice.

“The community office is a connection to some of the real strengths that exist here in Boulder, ranging from climate modeling, data management, collaborat­ion and internatio­nal research,” Druckenmil­ler said. “There really is a long tradition of Arctic research in Boulder, and I think this community office is one more large effort in that timeline.”

The office also aims to support applied research, co-production of knowledge and working with Indigenous communitie­s on knowledge and data sovereignt­y, human rights and equity.

“The work we’re doing is really addressing a large gap in the Arctic research community,” he said.

The impact of CU Boulder’s research will be felt for years to come, Fiez said, and is best seen in the human connection that’s an essential part of research.

“These are human teams and students coming together and feeling connected, and it really influences their whole future path,” she said.

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