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History of the Governor's Awards for High Impact Research

Started in 2009, the annual Governor's Awards for High-Impact Research celebrates the brilliant ground-breaking discoveries and innovative research from Colorado’s ecosystem of federally-funded laboratories and institutions. That year, following the creation of CO-LABS in 2007, Governor Bill Ritter suggested hosting a celebratory and spotlighting event; the various labs were prompted to submit nominations and a Selection Committee was convened of professional researchers, technologists, academics and economic development experts to identify remarkable research having “high impact” on society. 

"These projects highlight the diversity and impact of the science and technology coming out of Colorado's research labs that make our state and the world a better place."

- Former Colorado Governor 

  John Hickenlooper

Each year at this event, CO-LABS spotlights the men and women creating our future through brilliant technological and engineering discoveries in aerospace, energy, agriculture, public health, weather prediction, wildlife ecology, communication, earth science and dozens of other fields of research right here in our communities. Over the years Governors Ritter and Hickenlooper have presented winners with these awards and comments recognizing their impact on our country's leadership in science. The Governor's recognition of the four winning scientists is a high point for the scientific community throughout Colorado.

At our last awards event on December 14th, 2022 CO-LABS celebrated brilliant discoveries from the realms atmospheric science, nanotechnology and laser physics, extreme weather and flood dynamics, global greenhouse gas tracking, and tax-payer funded grants enabling commercialization of Nobel-Prize winning technology to track methane leaks - and all projects were the result of amazingly creative, complex and necessary multi-agency partnerships. ​ Our premier scientific research recognition event in Colorado saw 250 researchers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials celebrate the exceptional and groundbreaking work of scientists and engineers from Colorado’s federally-funded research labs and institutes.

Check out the 2022 recap video!

The 2023 recap video

About CO-LABS:

CO-LABS is a non-profit consortium of federal laboratories, research institutions, businesses and economic development organizations that provide financial and in-kind support for programs that promote the retention and expansion of Colorado scientific resources. Through events, economic analyses, strategic communications and networking activities we work to: 


• PROMOTE Colorado as a global leader in research and technology

• EDUCATE the public about the labs’ impact and importance of sustained funding for research 

• CONNECT the labs, universities and businesses to facilitate partnerships and technology transfer

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