Sandia National Laboratories, CU-Springs to collaborate

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The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories have agreed to collaborate on the development and manufacture of a broad range of technologies including microelectronics, micro electromechanical systems, nanotechnology, software and space and security applications.

A memorandum of understanding between the university and Sandia emphasizes advanced manufacturing technology recognizing the need to remain competitive in a global economy and supports cooperative efforts between Sandia and UCCS’s Rocky Mountain Technology Alliance, an organization of industry, government and university leaders whose objective is to establish a technology- rich, business development environment in Colorado Springs and the surrounding region.

The agreement stems from a relationship between the alliance and Sandia, specifically including Sandia’s Regional Alliance for Manufacturing Program One of the manufacturing program’s objectives is to establish regional partnerships with universities, commercial industry and government to engage in manufacturing research and development , exercise Sandia’s technical capabilities through technical assistance projects and help to develop the high-tech manufacturing capabilities of current and potential partners.

The organizations believe that they have mutual interests and capabilities in areas that include microsystems and nanotechnologies, space systems and engineering, cybersecurity, computer and communication networks, power and energy systems and advanced manufacturing.

Jeremy Haefner, dean of engineering and applied sciences and director of the Colorado Institute of Technology Transfer and Implementation at the university said that the future of the school and the economic future of the Colorado Springs region are dependent on technology, specifically technology that can be developed and commercialized in the region.

“We are citizens of the Rocky Mountain Technology Corridor – the region stretching from northern Colorado to southern New Mexico – from which much of modern technology flowed,” Haefner said. “We will expand our applied research in the region in cooperation with our partners. This will lead to substantially increased technology commercialization and production.”

Lenny Martinez, vice president of manufacturing systems, science and technology at Sandia, said there are several areas for collaboration between the organizations.

“One area that we are particularly interested in at Sandia is providing technical assistance to commercial high-tech manufacturing firms in Colorado Springs and other communities throughout the Colorado in support of our regional manufacturing strategies,” Martinez said. “These types of assistance projects are of growing importance to Sandia in terms of our needs for partnerships and manufacturing supply chain development.”

Haefner said that as the project develops, funding will be sought from the state and the federal governments, including Small Business Innovation Research Grants.

He said that small businesses and emerging industries will be able to partner with Sandia and the university to receive technical expertise to develop ideas for commercialization, channeling the broad themes of the project to manufacturing.

“We want to encourage partnerships and networking between Sandia, UCCS and industry,” Haefner said. “We are trying to pull together people and develop networks and make this area a player in the technology industry.”