Ideas needed 
to make valley 
‘innovative’

Colorado Mesa University is looking for suggestions about how to boost the development of unconventional energy in western Colorado.

The university has $160,000 to spend, mostly on applied science, to promote Mesa County as an “epicenter for energy innovation.” The money is from an endowment established in 2011 with $1.6 million from the Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District and a matching amount from the university.

“We had to wait for endowment to generate return, so now we’re ready to put money back out because it’s been in the bank long enough,” said Derek Wagner, director of strategic initiatives.

The university has released two requests for proposals.

One is $100,000 for applied science to make the most of Mesa County’s energy resources and the other is a $60,000 fund for the development of a workforce in the same field.

“I’m hoping we get proposals to solve problems on the ground, figure out better ways to build a better mousetrap for compressed natural gas” as well as suggestions about whether to offer scholarships in the field or support other efforts, Wagner said.

The Unconventional Energy Center will consider applications for projects requiring as much as $50,000 for efforts involving applied sciences and up to $30,000 for workforce development. In each category, proposals for smaller awards also will be considered.

Several ideas from industry and CMU faculty already have been discussed, Wagner said.

The requests for proposals can be found at http://www.coloradomesa.edu/energy/proposals.html.


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