Published: Sept. 20, 2017

As I join our broad community of CU Boulder students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners in celebrating the 10th New Venture Challenge at its kickoff event tonight, it seems fitting to shine a light on the growing energy and activity emanating from our CU Boulder Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez

Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez

One of the campus’s three strategic imperatives is to be the top university for innovation, and our Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative is a critical part of this strategic goal. In fact, as we’re welcoming students to campus for the new academic year, the initiative is kicking off a celebration of innovation that will last all year.

Just what are we celebrating?

For one, our reputation as an innovation university just helped the university reach a new milestone in research funding, attracting more than a half a billion dollars for the first time in our history. This funding fuels our research, scholarship and education, and amplifies our impact across the globe.

We are also celebrating what we call our special sauce: a combination of ingredients unique to our university and community that makes CU Boulder one of the most productive innovation hubs in the nation. This innovation ecosystem includes an array of on-campus activities, from coursework to competitions like the New Venture Challenge, along with the off-campus trifecta of federal labs, a bustling startup community and industry partners along the Front Range.

In addition to driving our record-breaking funding, this special sauce is at the heart of our world-class accomplishments in areas as diverse as aerospace, entrepreneurship, alumni startups and biotech. From Mars missions and global biotech leader Amgen to Burton Snowboards and the South Park series, CU Boulder cultivates individuals and enterprises that change the world. It’s no surprise some of the world’s most innovative companies see our community as an ideal location for expansion.

Regardless of your role on campus—student, faculty, researcher or staff—when it comes to innovation, there’s something here for everyone. Our newly remodeled Innovation & Entrepreneurship website serves as a gateway to programs, events and resources for anyone with a problem-solving mindset who wants to tackle the most important problems of our time.  

You’re sure to hear more about events and programs related to the initiative in the coming months, whether it is our new Innovation Action Team for students, innovation grants for faculty or staff or the numerous opportunities to connect with mentors, investors and partners from the community. I hope you’ll embark on your own innovation journey here at CU Boulder and add your discoveries to our legacy of innovation.

I look forward to seeing you, perhaps tonight at the New Venture Challenge kickoff, and in the year ahead!

Terri Fiez,
Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation