Northern Colorado Anticipates Research and Technology Boom
Whether or not Loveland closes the deal on a multimillion-dollar aerospace and clean-energy park, Northern Colorado will be part of the coming expansion in research and technology advancement. KUNC’s Erin O’Toole talks with Northern Colorado Business Report publisher Jeff Nuttall about how that’s going happen.
O’Toole: Northern Colorado will be an integral part of the coming boom in research and technology advancement. With me now is Jeff Nuttall, publisher of the Northern Colorado Business Report. So, the city of Loveland has been working with the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology to bring an aerospace and clean-energy park – or ACE - to the Agilent Technologies campus. The final decision is about a month away, but we hear that the association has already sealed a deal with another organization in Northern Colorado…
Nuttall: That’s right, Erin. CAMT and Colorado State University recently announced an agreement to launch a Northern Colorado Manufacturing Extension Partnership Regional Office on the Fort Collins campus. The initiative fits in with the ongoing plans of CAMT and NASA to build the ACE park. That project would bring together roughly 100 tech and research firms and eventually provide thousands of jobs to the region.
O’Toole: What does the partnership with CSU mean for Northern Colorado?
Nuttall: Regardless of the talks with Loveland, CSU will have its own relationship with CAMT. The partnership should boost technology transfer and intellectual-property claims for university research, with a focus toward developing projects that could serve businesses operating within the ACE facilities. Initial talks are already leading to connections between CSU researchers and prospective businesses looking to be a part of ACE.
O’Toole: I’m curious if Loveland moving to the top of the ACE site selection list helped to push this along.
Nuttall: The deal between CAMT and CSU actually predates discussion of the ACE park. The partnership has been in the works since last year, based on CSU’s long-standing relationships with the local technology community and regional business innovation clusters. CSU already supports technology transfer and commercialization of promising research through its research foundation and industry-focused research superclusters in cancer, clean energy, and infectious diseases.
O’Toole: Will this relationship have any impact on the ACE park, if it does get built in Loveland?
Nuttall: It could be a real plus. Both CSU and CAMT officials hope to build off the school’s existing programs and shepherd appropriate projects toward the businesses that emerge within the ACE park.
O’Toole: So what would be the benefits to CSU in this relationship?
Nuttall: While CSU and its researchers will be supporting ACE businesses, the university expects to benefit from the intellectual pipeline — and funding streams — between the companies and NASA and the Department of Energy. The Technology Acceleration Program that is part of the agreement is expected to make thousands of government technologies available for commercialization by private industry. Research programs based around NASA and DOE technologies could also lead to spinoff companies that will establish themselves in Northern Colorado, creating even more high-paying primary jobs outside of the ACE park as well.
Jeff Nuttall is the publisher of the Northern Colorado Business Report.