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Hickenlooper, Bennet, Polis, Neguse Celebrate Colorado Winning NSF Engine Funding

Jan 29, 2024

Designation could bring $160 million in federal funding to region

Program created by recently-passed, bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, Governor Jared Polis, and Representative Joe Neguse welcomed the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announcement of the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines, including the Colorado-Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine, which will be headquartered in Colorado. The NSF Engines program is one of the single largest investments in place-based research and development in the nation’s history – uniquely placing science and technology leadership as the central driver for regional economic competitiveness. All NSF Engines nationwide are eligible to compete for future NSF investments totaling nearly $1.6 billion over the next decade. Colorado-Wyoming is one of 10 NSF engines across 18 states announced today.

“Years of innovation made Colorado a leader in science and technology,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “This is bigger than a one-time grant, it’s a paved path to massive economic development for decades to come.”

“From colleges and universities conducting cutting-edge research to companies of all sizes developing and implementing advanced technology, our state leads the country in clean energy innovation. This funding will help fuel discoveries to combat climate change and attract further investment to Colorado,” 
said Senator Bennet.

“Winning this major award and funding is a reflection of Colorado’s leadership in renewable energy, and will drive even more innovation that will help address climate change, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen our economy. We look forward to partnering with Wyoming to support the CO-WY Engine’s important work,” said Colorado Governor Polis.

“In western states like Colorado and Wyoming, because there is no fire season, wildfire work is year-round. It is happening every month, every week, every day. And by designating this region as a first-of-its-kind Climate Resilience Engine, the National Science Foundation is investing in our state’s booming innovation and research landscape to help tackle this crisis,” said Congressman Neguse. “I’m excited to see the NSF take this action to help our communities prevent and recover from unprecedented wildfires and devastating droughts.”

The Colorado-Wyoming NSF Engine will initially receive up to $15 million for two years. NSF’s initial investment is being matched nearly two to one in commitments from state and local governments, other federal agencies, philanthropy and private industry. 

NSF Engines that demonstrate progress toward well-defined milestones could potentially receive up to $160 million each from NSF over 10 years, as they seek to catalyze the NSF funding to draw additional investments into the overall region. 

The Colorado-Wyoming won designation thanks to a robust startup ecosystem and research capacity in its universities with deep expertise in fields and technologies central to climate resiliency, including monitoring methane emissions, soil carbon capture, Earth sensing, water availability predicting, wildfire risk/prediction and extreme weather modeling. 


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