DENVER — A collaborative effort between Colorado and Wyoming to foster climate-resilient and sustainable technologies has been shortlisted as one of the 16 finalists for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) prestigious Regional Innovation Engines Competition. If successful, this partnership could receive a windfall of up to $160 million over the next decade.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis stated, “Colorado takes immense pride in spearheading environmental tech to combat climate adversities. Partnering with Wyoming amplifies our collective strength. The potential funding will supercharge our universities and federal labs, ultimately leading to increased job opportunities.”

The NSF’s competition aims to bolster partnerships that can not only drive economic growth within specific regions but also address pressing societal concerns, enhance national competitiveness, and generate high-paying local jobs, as per the foundation’s website.

Emerging technologies from this alliance are anticipated to make significant strides in areas like water resource management, agriculture tech, and mitigation strategies for extreme weather events, including wildfires and flooding.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon emphasized the global implications of their endeavor, stating, “The key to a thriving global future lies in a harmonious blend of affordable energy and a staunch commitment to the environment. Wyoming is resolute in addressing the climate crisis, and our unmatched prowess in tech innovation aligns with our holistic energy strategy. This not only ensures economic growth but also fosters a skilled workforce and prosperous communities.”

As part of this collaboration, prominent entities such as the Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Venture Capital, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and Colorado’s Venture Capital Authority are considering the establishment of a venture capital fund. This fund aims to invest in startups that bring to life the technologies birthed by the CO-WY collaboration.

This potential award builds on the existing rapport between Colorado and Wyoming. They previously collaborated on a four-state Memorandum of Understanding with New Mexico and Utah, aiming to pioneer the Western Inter-State Hydrogen Hub. This hub promises to propel the regional hydrogen economy. Furthermore, both states have committed to exploring direct air capture techniques, aiming to actively reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The NSF’s Engines program seeks to nourish regional innovation ecosystems across the nation, especially in regions yet to fully reap the benefits of the tech revolution of recent years.

The much-anticipated announcement of the successful Regional Innovation Engines is set for this fall. With Colorado and Wyoming’s ambitious vision, many eagerly await the results.