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Denver Research Institute Records

Identifier: U152


The records of the Denver Research Institute include annual reports, publicity information and publications The bulk of the collection consists of Reports published by the Institute and its many divisions on the research conducted by the Institution on behalf of government and private funders.


  • 1944-2012


Language of Materials

Material is predominately in English.

Biographical / Historical

On October 3, 1946 the University of Denver issued a news release which announced the opening of a Bureau of Industrial Research. In a University press release its purpose was stated to be “to conduct research requested by local industries who have no research facilities available within their own organizations. Through the utilization of the Bureau’s services, it is expected that industry of the Rocky Mountain area will be aided in developing raw materials and uses for by-products, as well as in producing new and improved products.” The idea of educational institutions partnering with private industry to solve logistical and production problems came out of such partnerships developed during the Second World War.

The initial director of the bureau was Dr. Ralph M. Conrad. His PhD was in Chemistry, and during the war he had worked with the Committee on Food Research to develop dried products, especially egg products, to supply the troops. Dr. Conrad’s contacts within government and industry were important factors in the founding of DRI. Tragically Dr. Conrad was killed in a river rafting accident in 1948, but the Bureau continued. While the press release called the research facility the Bureau of Industrial Research, and it was listed as such in the University Bulletins, annual reports to the University Chancellor were made in the name of the Institute for Industrial Research. Then on November 24, 1952, the name was officially changed by a resolution of the University Board of Trustees to Denver Research Institute.

In the 1950-1951 annual report, the Institute reported 20 projects. By the 1952-53 report, there were 69 projects, 34 for industry and 35 for the Defense effort. Seventy-nine industrial sponsors were listed for that year, and 16 federal agency sponsors. Research was conducted in five areas: Chemistry, Electronics, Mechanics, Metallurgy, and Physics.

By 1965-66 an academic element had been added to the research. Thirty research staff members taught a total of 179 credit hours in Arts and Sciences and 161 in College of Engineering. Subjects varied from metallurgy and mechanics to industrial economy and electronics. Grants to DRI totaled $6,588,940 covering over 300 contracts. During the 1970s DRI had a Center for Social Research and Development that studied social policy issues and human service delivery systems.

DRI continued to grow, and add divisions: Mathematical Sciences and Industrial Economics. Industrial Economics included such areas as market research, recreation and tourism evaluations, urban analysis, and motivational research in addition to more traditional areas such as energy resources policies and forecasts and environmental problems. Under the division of Industrial Product and Process Development research was conducted on Energy Sources & Technologies (biomass, alternative fuels, oil shale, electric vehicles), Materials processing (explosive metals, armor and anti-armor technology, ceramics), Composites and Non-Metallic Materials (graphite-aluminum composites, Kevlar bulletproof fabrics), Minerals and Materials Extraction and processing (ores, trace metals from oil shale, economic feasibility studies).

The division of Economics and Management also broke new ground with research in Regional Economics and Growth Management (water economics and policy, hazardous waste economics and policy, resource management, reuse and recycling), business planning and management (marketing studies, financial planning, telecommunications economics and policy, real estate feasibility analysis, public opinion and attitude research), technology management (R&D management, transfer systems design, implementation and management, innovation, regulation and productivity)

DRI published the reports of these various research efforts, and these reports are often important research tools as science moves forward. DRI’s focus and projects have depended on the priorities of the parties providing funding, including the federal government. The projects in the 21st century differ from those of the mid-twentieth century, but the research facilities continue to function.


61.25 Linear Feet (86 containers)

Scope and Contents

The records of the Denver Research Institute (DRI) include annual reports and other departmental information. The annual reports contain information about the projects undertaken by the various divisions and progress of the research. The bulk of the collection consists of the published reports on the various projects undertaken over the years by DRI. The collection covers DRI from its inception until 1985.


This collection is partially arranged.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transfer from Denver Research Institute,1979, 1980, and unknown.


Further accruals are expected.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428