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Gov. John Hickenlooper presented a Boulder research team with High-Impact Research Awards on Thursday evening in the Biotech Building located on East Campus.
The High-Impact Research Awards reception is an annual event sponsored by the nonprofit CO-LABS organization that aims to educate people and highlight breakthroughs made in any of the 24 labs in Colorado.
“Some of the greatest entrepreneurs start out as scientists,” Hickenlooper said. “If we put our minds to it and work a little harder, I think we can dramatically expand.”
The six awards were presented for breakthroughs in atmospheric science, hurricane forecasts, Lyme disease, management of crops, aquatic life control, and efficiency in batteries used to power vehicles.
The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, which is partnered with CU, was acknowledged at the event for estimating the rate of oil leak in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The team focused on the risks to the air quality and other aspects of the leak into the environment.
Joost de Gouw, a CU senior research scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained the process of their oil spill research on the Gulf of Mexico.
“We were in a good position to actually go out to the spill and see how the atmosphere was impacted by the spill and what we found was that a significant section of the oil actually evaporated and so we could measure it,” Gouw said.
He explained how when the spill occurred, it was a coincidence that they had all of their research equipment and were able to begin right away.
“From those results we could learn several things,” Gouw said. “We could actually measure how much of the compound evaporated into the atmosphere and we could actually measure how much oil was leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.”
Teams from six Colorado-based research centers were presented awards, one of which is based at CU.
“The point is trying to take the research laboratories and the business schools and the large corporations to the small entrepreneurs, the microcaps, and try to get ideas, innovations into jobs,” Hickenlooper said.
Mary Essa, a 19-year-old sophomore open-option major, believes that CU’s research program gives students easy access and enhances their ability to become successful.
“CU has a very strong center for that and it’s important that we have these readily accessible research opportunities,” Essa said.
She believes that the campus has gained a significant reputation through research.
“I’m really happy that’s what we’re researching because it’s important that students are aware of what’s happening in our own environment and what we’re capable of,” Essa said. “It’s an exciting thing to have the Governor come.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Haleema Mian at Haleema.firstname.lastname@example.org.