Consortium Pushing Colorado for High-Tech Research Center

Article excerpt

More than two dozen Coloradans with doctoral degrees in technical fields descended on New York last week to promote their state as a high-tech research center.

The group, representing a consortium called the Colorado Alliance of Research Universities, later flew to Washington, D.C., to sell its ideas there.

Dr. George Ansell, president of the Colorado School of Mines, a member institution, said there is no research group in the nation quite like the alliance, which provides research for businesses large and small, because its four member universities jointly share their research.

Ansell called the alliance a tool for recapturing the competitive edge.

``The Japanese with their competition have done us a favor,'' he said.

''The four student bodies involved in science and technology number about 13,000, and there are 1,500 professors.

``We have large industrial support and receive about $200 million a year for research.

``Intellectual work becomes sterile without customers, and we have the excitement of our ideas getting used.''

The group had its beginnings in 1983 when Colorado, wanting to encourage research at its universities and increase jobs by attracting high-tech businesses, set up the Colorado Advanced Technical Institute, which acts as a ``technical switchboard'' between business and academia.

Two years later, the presidents of the four universities - the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Mines - organized the alliance, which provides for joint research.

Ansell said it was not easy to establish the alliance. ``We had to do some arm twisting,'' he said.

``It would be hard enough to set up something like this within one institution and it was much harder when four were involved. It takes continuous encouragement of the faculty, and we presidents of the four give them wholehearted backing.''

Host for the New York visit was IBM, a major supporter of the alliance.

Other support comes from the National Science Foundation; Martin Marietta; Hewlett-Packard; Ford Scientific, a Ford Motor Co. division; Coors Porcelain and the Coors Biotechnology Co., units owned by Adolph Coors, the brewer, and the Mobil Corp.

The alliance's approach differs from that at other universities, Ansell said, ``because it has a broad range of joint research areas. …