Colorado State University Lends Support to Presidential Initiative to Support Role of Universities in Economic Development

Colorado State University today lent its support to a White House initiative to promote and encourage the role of major research universities as drivers of economic development.

Colorado State is one of more than 100 universities that have supported a push by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities for more visibility for the role of universities in economic development efforts.

President Barack Obama also today signed the patent reform bill, which will provide resources to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and clarify the patent application process. CSU and many U.S. universities have largely supported the bill because it will help them stay more competitive and reduce costs primarily due to litigation.

As Colorado’s only land-grant institution, Colorado State faculty and students create new companies and jobs critical to Colorado’s economy, prepare students for the workforce and enable innovation. The university has influenced state and national economic development activities and enacted major initiatives to improve partnerships in the community and encourage entrepreneurship.

“Partnerships between Colorado State and the economic development community are critical to a strong economy," said Bill Farland, vice president for Research at Colorado State and formerly a top federal scientist. "We can provide the technology that will help position the state as a leader in innovation and develop partnerships to ensure a healthy job base.”

The university works in tandem with state and local economic development leaders, such as the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, to promote job creation and facilitate partnerships that lead to economic health of the community.

“CSU, in combination with the high technology sector of the economy, drives innovation,” said David May, president and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. “A synergy is created that is hard to describe but very real. Our community generates 11.45 patents per 10,000 population, four times the national average. The expeditious issuance of patents and the protection of intellectual property are extremely important to the local economy.”

Colorado State is having a national impact on innovation and economic development efforts. This summer, Ron Sega, vice president for Energy and the Environment at Colorado State, joined other business and economic development leaders to prepare a report on Colorado innovation and job creation. The Colorado Competes Report was submitted to President Obama last week.

Earlier in the spring, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper selected Colorado State University to help with his “Bottom-Up” economic development initiative because of the university’s deep connection to communities statewide through Extension offices. Facilitating that statewide effort on behalf of the university was Kathay Rennels, CSU director of Economic Development and former County Commissioner. Rennels routinely works with state economic development agencies, county commissioners and mayors, businesses, and regional groups to advance collaborative and productive networks across the state to create economic development opportunities.

The university is further positioned to influence innovation and economic policies by serving as the home for the regional economist for northern Colorado, Professor Martin Shields, who is a member of the economics faculty at Colorado State and for former Gov. Bill Ritter, who serves as director of the university’s Center for the New Energy Economy.

Highlights of other Colorado State economic development activities:

Superclusters: Entrepreneurial faculty work together in areas of research strength to increase collaboration among disciplines to develop marketable solutions to the current challenges in the areas of cancer, clean energy and infectious disease. Within several years of creating the Superclusters, faculty invention disclosures in some of these areas as much as tripled.

CSU Ventures: A private, non-profit advocacy arm of the university that handles technology transfer activities and supports the Superclusters with technical business and industry expertise to commercialize university inventions. As part of this effort, the university has created a Startup Guide – an overview meant to assist inventors who would like to found a company based on technology that they have created during the course of their CSU activities. .

CAMT Northern Colorado Manufacturing Extension Partnership: The Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT) and the CSU Office of Community and Economic Development are partners in the CAMT Northern Colorado Manufacturing Extension Partnership Regional Office at CSU. This partnership fits into the efforts of the Colorado Regional Innovation Cluster for Aerospace and Clean Energy, which is a strategic statewide approach to promote innovation in related Colorado industries by connecting them with partners, leveraging federal funds, and attracting private capital investment in the Colorado region.

Industry Partnership Committee: The Industry Partnership Committee is made up of representatives from across the university working to improve and encourage the university’s relationship with industry. The committee aims to assist businesses to more easily connect with the extensive intellectual assets of the university.

Federal Demonstration Partnership: Colorado State participates in the Federal Demonstration Partnership convened by the National Academy of Science’s Government-University-Industry-Research Roundtable. The FDP is a cooperative initiative among 10 Federal agencies and 98 institutional recipients of federal funds; its purpose is to reduce the administrative burdens for faculty and staff engaged in research and to enhance research effectiveness.

University Industry Demonstration Partnership: The University Industry Demonstration Partnership consists of universities and companies seeking a stronger relationship. The organization provides a forum for discussion of contracting and intellectual property policy, publication and technology transfer preferences, and other issues.