Colorado—Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine wins inaugural NSF Regional Innovation Engines award with potential to receive up to $160M over 10 years

Award positions Colorado and Wyoming at the forefront of the nation's environmental and climate technology initiatives
NSF Engines Award
NSF Engines Award
DENVER - Jan. 30, 2024 - PRLog -- The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced yesterday that the Colorado-Wyoming Regional Innovation Engine (CO-WY Engine) is a groundbreaking recipient of its inaugural Regional Innovation Engines program grant. This prestigious award, totaling up to $160 million over ten years, positions the CO-WY Engine at the forefront of the nation's environmental and climate technology initiatives.

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) decision to award the Colorado-Wyoming Regional Innovation Engine (CO-WY Engine) with the NSF Engine grant marks a pivotal moment, especially for our workforce development program partners. This grant represents not just financial support but also a validation of the potential and need for innovative workforce development in the region.

"The NSF's recognition of the CO-WY Engine is a significant milestone in CCIA's commitment to advancing cleantech innovations," said Laura Hickernell, CCIA's executive director. "The partnership between CCIA and the CO-WY Engine empowers us to further CCIA's work with Cleantech Challenges, delivering innovative solutions to diverse industries, and reshaping our sustainable future."

The NSF grant will significantly enhance the capacity of our workforce development partners to provide state-of-the-art training and education. This boost will enable the development of specialized curricula and programs aligned with the emerging needs of the climate technology sector. By focusing on areas like environmental monitoring, sustainable technology, and climate resilience, the grant will help prepare a new generation of skilled professionals equipped to tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by a changing climate.

One of the most critical aspects of the CO-WY Engine's mission is to bridge the skills gap in the climate technology sector. The NSF funding will allow workforce development partners to create tailored training programs that align with the specific needs of industries in the region. These programs will not only provide technical skills but also foster innovative thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability – qualities essential in the rapidly evolving field of climate technology.

A cornerstone of the CO-WY Engine's workforce development initiative is to promote inclusivity and diversity. The NSF grant will empower workforce development partners to reach out to traditionally underrepresented communities, providing them with the opportunities and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from the region's growing climate technology sector. This focus on diversity will not only enrich the workforce but also ensure that the solutions and technologies developed are inclusive and equitable.

The NSF grant will facilitate stronger linkages between academia and industry, essential for an effective workforce development program. By fostering collaborations with industry partners, our workforce development programs can offer hands-on training, internships, and real-world problem-solving experiences. These opportunities are vital for students and job seekers to gain practical experience and for industries to access a pool of job-ready candidates with relevant skills.

Investing in workforce development is a direct investment in the region's economic future. The NSF grant will enable the creation of high-quality jobs and support the growth of new and existing businesses in the climate technology sector. As a result, the CO-WY Engine will be an essential driver of economic growth, enhancing the region's competitiveness and positioning it as a leader in sustainable and climate-resilient technologies.

Over the 10-year grant period, the Engine will provide more than 1100 paid internships, 245 apprenticeships, train more than 130 post-docs, train more than 400 individuals in systems engineering, and provide certificate programs in carbon finance to more than 3000 people.

Workforce partners in the CO-WY Engine include Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado Community College System, Wyoming Community College Commission.

About the CO-WY Climate Resilience Engine:

The Colorado-Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine (CO-WY Engine) is a collaborative initiative focused on driving innovation in climate resiliency and sustainability across the Colorado-Wyoming region. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the CO-WY Engine brings together a diverse network of partners to develop and commercialize technologies that address critical environmental challenges, foster economic growth, and enhance community well-being. Visit for more information.

About CCIA:

Founded in 2008, the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) is a statewide organization dedicated to promoting Colorado's cleantech and climate-tech industries. CCIA impacts Colorado's policies, people, products, and programs that drive expansion of a cleaner, more efficient, and secure energy economy. Through advocacy, public policy leadership, development, and education, CCIA works to ensure that Colorado is a global cleantech leader. For more information about CCIA, visit:

About NSF Engines:

The NSF Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program was launched by the NSF Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships in May 2022. The NSF Engines program uniquely harnesses the nation's science and technology research and development enterprise and regional-level resources. For more information, visit the NSF Engines program website.
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