Construction on the new Center for Collaborative Research — a facility where students will be able to conduct research alongside organizations, small companies and NSU faculty — is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 13 at the University Park Plaza.
The L-shaped building will include six floors, 215,000 square feet and around $20 million of research equipment. Construction will last 22 to 24 months and will cost around $80 million.
President George Hanbury said that his goal is to raise between $250 million and $300 million for grants and research by 2020 for student scholarships and to offset the cost of tuition. The grants will be obtained through different foundations, companies and faculty who will be a part of the research facility.
“This university is going to be recognized as a private, not-for-profit university of quality and distinction that engages all students,” Hanbury said. “We have, in the past, always been a teaching institution, but there’s no reason why a teaching institution can’t also be a research institution.”
The first floor of the building will be home to the United States Geological Survey, a national organization that focuses on understanding the Earth, minimizing the effects of natural disasters, managing natural resources and protecting the quality of life. In the new center, the USGS will partner with Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida to focus on an Everglades restoration project.
Hanbury sees the groundbreaking as a huge development, especially because this is NSU’s 50th anniversary year.
“The first 50 years have [presented] wonderful opportunities for growth and development,” he said. “The next 50 years are going to be even greater. We’ve had a glorious and grand history, but the best is yet to be.”
The Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust, a small nonprofit organization, will be located on the second floor of the Center, along with other small companies that will offer students internships. Hanbury said that the foundation aims to support the education of students to utilize technology for the advancement of space exploration.
Small companies that are still in their beginning phases and that work in high-technology areas will be able to have offices on the third floor for up to three years. In order to have office space in the facility, the companies will have to pay a small rent fee, agree to collaborate with students and agree to give NSU a share in the proceeds if the company’s product is successful. Proceeds will go toward student scholarships.
Vice President of the Office of Research and Technology Transfer, Gary Margules, thinks the center will be beneficial to all students.
“I think there will be opportunities for everyone, even from the business school and law school,” said Margules.
The fourth and fifth floors will contain wet labs, laboratories equipped with plumbing ventilation and equipment for hands-on scientific research and experimentation. NSU currently has only dry labs, laboratories for making computer simulations or for data analysis, in the Parker Building and the Parker South Module. Working with the labs will be inputted into some students’ curriculum, depending on their major or field of study.
Margules said, “The students at every level of NSU will benefit from having enhanced research capabilities here and enhanced research activities.”
According to Margules, scheduling for work at the wet labs will be flexible, in order to accommodate students’ busy lives.
The Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research will be on the sixth floor, where stem cell and DNA studies will also take place. RGI is a non-profit organization that merged with NSU’s Health Professions Division and is committed to developing anti-cancer therapies that target tumors, causing minimal cellular damage to the patient.
Margules said, “The clinical research [not only] attracts very good doctors to our school, but also gives patients a chance to use and be part of trying cutting-edge technology and therapeutics, where they wouldn’t normally have that chance.”
Because students are generally interested in hands-on experience for their focus of study, Margules said that NSU is going to put a larger emphasis on research opportunities when recruiting new students.
Students will be able to collaborate with faculty and the companies and organizations that are housed in the facility. All internship and research opportunities will be coordinated through Margules’ office and the Office of Career Development.
The center will also get an IBM sixth generation computer, a brand new model that will boost the performance and data analysis capabilities of the entire building.
Members of the community and tour groups will also have the opportunity to tour the facility to see the research that students and companies will be working on.
Hanbury said, “It’ll not just [be] a place for high-tech development, but it’ll also be a demonstration site for people to go in and see how technology can be utilized.”
The groundbreaking will be live-streamed on the Center for Collaborative Research’s new website, nova.edu/research/ccr. The website also provides additional information on the center and its planned areas of research.