Powering Innovation in Downtown Denver

A Commitment to Innovating the Future of Denver

As an anchor institution in Denver and Colorado’s only public urban research university, we know that inclusive innovation is the key to urban revitalization and economic and workforce development. That is why we are committed to creating the diverse workforce pipeline of the future while creating a highly desirable place to live, work, and play.

We are powered by a diverse and expansive network of partners and enjoy our proximity to economic development assets, downtown Denver’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, historic Larimer Square, government institutions, world-class transportation infrastructure, arts and culture amenities, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and several professional sports venues. This provides an ideal environment to launch CU Denver’s innovation district, which will be a hub for connection and possibilities and the first in Colorado.

CU Denver: The Anchor of Our City’s Open Innovation District 

With an eye toward the future, CU Denver is creating an open innovation district in the heart of downtown Denver that will catalyze economic growth, spark new companies, commercialize research, cultivate the workforce of the future, and drive social impact.

Developing Tomorrow’s Workforce Today: New Engineering Building Will Serve as Catalyst for Open Innovation District

CU Denver has embarked on constructing a new building that will serve as the home of its College of Engineering, Design and Computing, which serves as a hub for interdisciplinary computing initiatives on campus, and as a critical part of the new open innovation district.

Concept idea for the building, located along Speer Boulevard; courtesy of design firm SmithGroup.

Through an interdisciplinary, human-centered design framework, the new building will combines the hallmarks of modern technical education—artificial intelligence, robotics, and big data—with elements of a liberal arts and business school education to develop our students’ essential human and social skills, including creativity, teamwork, communication, and entrepreneurship./span>

The new building will be a major component of a new ecosystem—human, physical, digital, and financial—that CU Denver is building to facilitate and grow a contemporary interdisciplinary research and creative enterprise that focuses our talent and amplifies our impact.

Innovation at Work

CU Denver's faculty, staff, students, and partners are innovators in their fields of study—whether they are making society-impacting research discoveries, developing creative works that power the creative economy, or commercializing new products or services that improve lives and communities. Here are a few examples.

Our Competitive Edge Against Vying Global Cities

One of roughly 100 innovation districts across the globe, Denver will join forward-thinking cities with open innovation districts, including Barcelona, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta, dedicated to bringing together entrepreneurs, educational institutions, tech start-ups, medical advancements, and mixed-use development in one people-centric hub. This will help our investment, corporate expansion, population growth, economic resiliency, and quality of life.

What these districts are:

Geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators

Physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired

What these districts do:

Cultivate corporate partnerships

Prioritize place-making and sustainable, mixed-use development

Featured Partnership


NxtGEN Teacher Residency

CU Denver’s NxtGEN Teacher Residency prepares diverse students to support Colorado schools. The innovative pathway diversifies the education workforce by developing undergraduate students into highly competent teachers who possess the knowledge and skills needed to serve students of diverse languages, cultures, and abilities in urban and rural classrooms. The pathway is designed in close partnership with the city’s largest K-12 school district, Denver Public Schools.

Innovation News

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