Virtual Demo Day blends seminars, showcases April 18-20

Screen shot of Demo Day site

CSU Ventures, the technology transfer unit of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, is hosting its annual innovation symposium, CSU Demo Day, as a virtual event April 18-20.

Several CSU colleges and interdisciplinary programs are represented in this year’s event, with submissions highlighting the incredible innovative work that has persevered through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the constraints across educational and research spaces at CSU.

This year’s Demo Day uses the same custom-built video-based platform created by bitsurf IT that made GradShow 2020/2021, Demo Day 2021 and the 2021 CHHS Research Day successful virtual experiences.

More than 30 judges

This year, Demo Day includes more than 30 industry, community and alumni judges, representing a diverse set of companies, including Nutrien, Advanced Energy, Arrow, CableLabs, CoLABS, AtlasBanc, Arcadia Asset Management, HP (Enterprises and Inc.), Lockheed Martin, Otterbox, JBS USA/Pilgrims and Beckman Coulter.

“We are thankful for the excitement and engagement of the industry representatives that have volunteered to judge this innovation showcase,” said Ajay Menon, president and CEO of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, or CSURF. “Their active engagement with our innovators provides an incredible networking and professional development opportunity for our student presenters. We elected to continue the showcase this year in a virtual format to provide that industry networking experience with judges from around the nation and exposure of CSU innovations to a wider, geographically diverse set of attendees.”

All members of the University community are invited to attend the virtual event; registration provides access to all seminars and the virtual poster/company showcase platform. Register here.

About the platform

In-person presentation opportunities for the Demo Day poster showcase, startup company showcase, sponsors and service organizations have been made possible by a collaboration with the site developer bitsurf IT. The video-forward platform encourages presenters to practice their presentation in a three-minute thesis style, focusing on the application of and societal impact of their innovation.

The presenters upload videos and an infographic-style poster to demonstrate their work, allowing the community to stream the submission introductions and create a favorites playlist by clicking the “add favorite” button, incorporating an internal messaging system that allows community members to chat internally on the platform.

The platform maximizes a person-to-person feel and creates opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement – that feeling of being part of a large, interactive event that brings together individuals from all disciplines, sparking ideas and collaborations and building community.

Screen shot of Demo Day site

Schedule of events

In addition to the virtual poster and startup showcase, Demo Day includes three lunchtime seminars highlighting various aspects of innovation in the community: the innovative culture at CSU, Innovation at CSU Spur and innovation and entrepreneurial resources in northern Colorado.

Demo Day kicks off on April 18 with a panel discussion, “Technology Transfer and the Land-Grant Mission: Engaging in a Culture of Innovation at CSU,” featuring CSU’s Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Strategy Jenelle Beavers, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Susan James and CSURF’s Richard Magid, vice president for technology transfer.

The panel of leaders will discuss how the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the President,and the Colorado State University Research Foundation work together through the Courageous Strategic Transformation to support programs and outcomes that build a cohesive and engaging culture of innovation at CSU.

Screen shot of Demo Day site

Seminar on CSU Spur

The second lunchtime seminar on April 19 features all things innovation at the newly opened CSU Spur campus in Denver. It will outline how the CSU Spur campus is changing the way we collectively think and engage in cutting-edge innovation and preparing the next generation of innovators. As a highlight, a panel will share insights on how the Spur campus ties the new Master of Agribusiness and Food Innovation program, the Food Innovation Center and water management all together in one location.

Panel members include Associate Vice President for Spur Strategy James Bradeen, College of  Agricultural Sciences Chief of Staff and Operations Paula Mills, Professor and Animal Sciences Department Head Keith Belk and Professor Gregory Graff of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The final seminar on April 20 wraps up the focus on innovation by sharing innovation and entrepreneurship resources hosted at CSU and in northern Colorado. This panel will share how CSU is directly supporting programs for innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the CIP program, the Institute for Entrepreneurship, on-campus lab incubator spaces for startup companies at the Energy Institute and the Research Innovation Center, the REACH program, the NSF I-Corp western hub affiliation, and partnerships with the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) and Innosphere Ventures.

The panel includes CBSA President Elyse Blazevich, Innosphere Ventures Executive Director Ben Walker, Energy Institute Associate Director Jeff Muhs, Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Executive Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship Scott Shrake and Meghan Suter, director of the Research Acceleration Office.

Networking and awards ceremony

Demo Day closes with a hybrid networking and awards ceremony on April 20, held in conjunction with the Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Venture RAMS Business Showcase-Pitch Competition at the Translational Medicine Institute. Attendees of Demo Day are welcome to attend the pitch competition in person and cheer on the finalists for the Business Showcase. Awards for both Demo Day and the Business Showcase will be presented immediately following the pitch competition.

If attending in person, individuals must pre-register here.  Awards for Demo Day include Innovative Excellence in each college, and specialty awards for AR/VR, software, programmatic and educational outreach, interdisciplinary human-centered design thinking and sustainable energy initiatives, with more than $20,000 awarded in total. People’s Choice awards will also be presented based on the use of the “favorites” function on the virtual showcase platform, where visitors vote for their favorite posters.

The full schedule and registration for individual seminars is on the Demo Day website.

Questions about the event may be directed to