Colorado State University has again been recognized as a place of innovation. The University Economic Development Association recently announced CSU as the winner in its “Place + Innovation” category of its annual Awards of Excellence program during its Annual Summit, Oct. 16-19.
Five areas of focus
The Energy Institute serves as a nucleus of research, education and outreach for CSU faculty, staff and students. Established in 2013, it employs an interdisciplinary approach to develop innovative solutions to energy challenges that translate science into global societal impact.
“I’m reminded daily that this place is special,” said Mac McGoldrick, assistant director of the Energy Institute and director of operations for the Powerhouse Energy Campus. “A small piece of the extraordinary work being done at CSU in clean energy is housed the Powerhouse Energy Campus, with 25 active faculty, 14 co-located partner companies, hundreds of students and a team of world-class researchers, making this a living experiment in how to solve global energy challenges from an interdisciplinary and cooperative approach. Together, we’re making a difference.”
The Institute focuses its work in five different areas: access to energy, energy systems and devices, energy and water, energy policy and human behavior, and environmental impacts.
With an emphasis on student-centered experiential learning, the Institute serves as an educational innovator and has fostered a robust startup community in clean energy technologies. Envirofit International is a notable example of a student-founded social enterprise that has brought transformative energy solutions to the developing world. Envirofit is the world’s leading manufacturer of clean cookstoves, delivering cost savings and health benefits to 5 million people to date.
Global reach, local impact
The robust research of the Energy Institute has also had a significant local impact, enhancing Fort Collins’ growing international reputation as a place of innovation and leadership in clean energy. The Institute has helped launch initiatives for the city, such as the FortZED zero energy district, and is a major contributor and collaborator toward city efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Last year, this collaborative culture of innovation in Fort Collins prompted the Smithsonian Institution to recognize the city as the contemporary example of six “Places of Invention” throughout American history.
The UEDA recognizes success in stimulating economic development throughout Colorado, across the nation and globally. The Awards of Excellence Program honors organizations that are transforming their campuses into engines of economic prosperity through leading-edge initiatives in one of five categories: “Innovation,” “Innovation + Talent,” “Talent + Place,” “Place” and “Place + Innovation.” The nominations were judged on the sustainability, replicability, originality and impact of the program or initiative.
UEDA is made up of more than 160 organizations that bring together public and private higher education, the private sector, public agencies and community economic development stakeholders.