Activating Change Through Research and Creative Work

Diverse researchers, artists, scholars, and designers come together from around the world at CU Denver to transcend disciplinary boundaries and strengthen our university’s impact on the city, state, nation, and world. Working with a collaborative ethos, they are the leaders of our expanding research enterprise, solving some of society’s grand challenges with the curiosity, compassion, and grit that defines our community.

Our faculty and students create work that is transforming research areas, including cybersecurity, data science, smart and sustainable urban infrastructure, and health. We continue to enhance our level of research activity, both as a leading public university with the highest research classification and also benefiting from our affiliation with the nationally renowned CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Upon launching our strategic plan, we have built a foundation for becoming an internationally known and society-impacting research enterprise, including these achievements:

Diverse Talent Pipeline at CU Denver

Our faculty produce meaningful research at home—and abroad—in a range of topics from urbanism to climate change. This year, our architecture and planning students, including Paola Larios, created a custom design-build for another group of researchers—NOAA scientists—who are studying marine ecosystems in Antarctica. Read Paola’s story below.

  • Received $19.5M in federal research funding during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
  • Earned a $1.3M grant from the National Science Foundation to study how vegetation in Western Alaska responds to climate change. By investigating impacts in the Arctic, scientists may be able to make predictions about other high-altitude environments, including Denver.
  • Launched an enterprise-wide Research and Creative Work Grand Challenges initiative with significant investments in collaborative projects.The first wave of investments heavily focused on our role as an urban university, addressing grand challenges such as the effect of climate change on community health, the use of informatics to strengthen urban infrastructure, and the role of democracy in society.
  • Designed and built a sustainable laboratory for NOAA scientists in Antarctica in partnership with NOAA Fisheries, Bespoke Project Solutions, and OZ Architecture. Guided by our expert faculty on CU Denver’s campus, 22 graduate students from CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning Colorado Design Build Project completed the first design and construction phase of Antarctica’s new Cape Shirreff field camp to improve the living conditions of the NOAA scientists conducting marine ecosystem research. Following the design-build in Denver, the architecturally and environmentally sophisticated structures were shipped to their destination 10,000 miles away.

Lynx in Focus

paola larios

Paola Larios

Master of Architecture Candidate ’23

When Paola Larios was looking at master’s in architecture degree programs, she did her homework. She wanted something that was competitive and in an interesting city that would help make moving away from her family network in El Paso, Texas, a little easier. And she wanted to have a unique experience, which is why CU Denver’s Design Build Graduate Certificate Program stood out. She’d have a chance to work on a real-world project. What she didn’t know was that it would make a difference nearly 10,000 miles away—in Antarctica.