Published: April 19, 2022

Deloitte and the University of Colorado Boulder on Tuesday launched a new Climate Innovation Collaboratory to translate cutting-edge climate research and data into meaningful climate solutions for federal, state and local government agencies and communities.

Researchers work on a project to develop a blockchain and sensor platform for groundwater conservation in California.

Researchers work on a project to develop a blockchain and sensor platform for groundwater conservation in California. From left to right: Matthew Falcone, CU Boulder PhD student; Stephanie Tatge, The Freshwater Trust; Becky Rittenburg, The Freshwater Trust; and Nathan Wangusi, IBM Research

CU Boulder is a powerhouse of research and proven interdisciplinary approaches in the climate sciences and innovative technology solutions. Deloitte specializes in helping government agencies mitigate the impacts of climate change and achieve their ambitious climate equity, resilience and sustainability goals. The new collaboratory brings together the power and experience of both organizations.

Deloitte’s initial $2 million commitment will accelerate the research and application of climate solutions being developed by CU Boulder and Deloitte climate professionals.

“This collaboration will expand government access to critical climate data and science, encourage the exchange of public information, and support the work being done at CU Boulder’s 12 research institutes and more than 75 research centers,” said Terri Fiez, vice chancellor for research and innovation at CU Boulder.  

Findings from the 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change speak to the urgent need for action on climate change. CU Boulder and Deloitte will continuously connect work from the Climate Innovation Collaboratory to market applications and support government agencies with collaborative proposals and response efforts.

“We’re proud to team up with the University of Colorado Boulder to develop the tools and resources that government agencies need to accelerate their progress on climate solutions at this critical time,” said Deborah Sills, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, who serves as the global consulting leader for Deloitte’s government and public services (GPS) practice and a member of Deloitte’s U.S. Board. “Working together, we will help design and implement data-driven approaches to address the climate crisis; build a more equitable, sustainable society; and foster a more resilient environment for generations to come.”

The collaboratory will start with two research and technology development projects addressing environmental challenges in the western United States, including one project on wildfire risk assessments and another project on drought mitigation.

“This is a critical moment to redefine the nation’s wildfire risk,” said Jennifer Balch, professor of geography and director of Earth Lab, an Earth data synthesis center housed at CU Boulder. “Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated, thousands of homes have been lost and over a hundred people lost their lives in blazes in just the past three years. An amazing wealth of data on fire and homes—from government data and satellite imagery—offers an opportunity to build resilience solutions to acute wildfire risk.”

“The current 20-year megadrought throughout the western United States is the worst in more than 1,200 years and is intensifying social and economic stressors,” said Evan Thomas, professor of environmental engineering and director of the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and director of the collaboratory. “We have an opportunity with technology and with collective community action to improve management and conservation of our surface and groundwater resources.”

The collaboratory, hosted by the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering, will also focus on a wide range of climate priorities, including but not limited to building public-private innovation and entrepreneurship capacity, expanding the deployment of technologies, enhancing organizational decision-making with robust earth science data, improving the analysis of energy systems and advancing climate equity and environmental justice.

“This innovative collaboration with the University of Colorado Boulder will help government officials access, analyze and interpret the latest climate data and research to strengthen their program execution,” said Mike Canning, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte’s GPS leader. “We are committed to this alliance and to helping those on the front line better protect their communities, mitigate the climate crisis and make an impact that matters for generations to come.”

As a global leader in climate, environmental and energy research, the University of Colorado Boulder is partnering with United Nations Human Rights to co-host the Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit in fall 2022. 

Learn More Receive Media Updates