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Philips partnership lights the way for new research and innovation at CSU

Philips partnership lights the way for new research and innovation at CSU
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A greenhouse at the CSU Horticulture Center on Center Avenue with its new Philips LED lighting. Credit: Steve Newman

Colorado State University and Philips Lighting have forged a long-term collaborative partnership by signing an agreement to create a state-of-the-art LED-lighted education, research and training horticulture facility at CSU.

“It all started with the stadium,” said Steven Newman, greenhouse crops extension specialist and professor of floriculture at CSU.  It was the relocation of the greenhouses at the W.D. Holley Plant Environmental Research to the new CSU Horticulture Center spurred by CSU’s impending on-campus stadium that Newman said got him thinking about finding resources to create a new, cutting-edge horticulture facility for the campus community.

“We saw this as an opportunity to work with a global leader in LED solutions that has depth, longevity, and an appreciation for close collaborations with universities like CSU,” Newman said.

Collaborative research, cultivation studies

The partnership will allow the two entities to perform collaborative research and focused cultivation studies to validate and innovate around the application of advanced LED lighting for horticultural activity. This research is anticipated to optimize desired plant characteristics, including the nutritional value of city farm produced foods, irrigation strategies, climate impact, soil conditions, thermal effects, year-round production, greenhouse food, hops, floriculture and turf, while dramatically reducing the power consumption of the lighting component to indoor growth facilities.

“This is an opportunity for research collaboration between academia and a technology world leader in advanced LED products. The new CSU Horticulture Center will showcase new technology in LED lighting, not previously installed anywhere else in the world within the horticulture realm at a leading institution,” said Ron DeKok, business development director of horticulture LED solutions for Philips North America.

“This is the most advanced LED lighting technology in the world, and CSU will be one of the first institutions of this scale to have it.”

Land-grant heritage

Collaborating with Philips speaks directly to CSU’s land-grant heritage mission of engaging external partners to drive innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace with real products and services, said Mark Wdowik, assistant vice president for research and industry partnerships at CSU.

“This partnership with Philips provides CSU with much-needed advanced tools to keep at the forefront of new technology development, innovation and practical, real-world education of our students,” Wdowik said.

The building will explore joint educational and training opportunities with CSU and CSU Extension, as well as other Philips partners and customers. New internship and cooperative learning opportunities will also be created for CSU’s graduate and undergraduate students.

“Partnerships between CSU and the business community help enhance the quality of the educational experience for our students,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “The state-of-the-art installation of LED lighting in the new Horticulture Center will advance the quality and impact of the teaching, research, and engagement that our Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture program has maintained for decades.”

The installation of the new Philips Horticulture LED Solutions lighting in the CSU Horticulture Center is expected to be completed in early 2016. A ribbon-cutting event will be held to celebrate the partnership and the opening of the new facility.

Lauren Klamm

Lauren Klamm