Northwestern University is serious about cementing its commitment to interdisciplinary research, and it's taking action to prove it.
This fall, the university will break ground on a new Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology building, which will house research groups working in the areas of chemistry, biology, and engineering. The building will be linked to two others built in the last five years: the Pancoe-Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Life Sciences Pavilion and the Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly. All three are located on the Evanston, Ill., campus.
"Scientific research that crosses disciplinary boundaries has been a hallmark of Northwestern and will become increasingly important in the 21st century," says Lawrence Dumas, provost of Northwestern. "By bringing together researchers from a variety of disciplines under one roof, and then physically linking that building with our other science facilities, we hope to encourage interactions that lead to scientific advances."
The buildings are designed to encourage faculty to bump into one another. Longer, open labs encourage interaction, for example, as does a centrally located Einstein Bros' Bagels. Who doesn't need breakfast or a coffee? "This will foster interaction," says Al Cubbage, a spokesperson for Northwestern.
The new Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology building will be 140,000 square feet and will provide lab space for 16 principal investigators and their research groups. It will feature a major imaging center for the campus; core facilities for therapeutics and diagnostics and for proteomics; state-of-the-art research laboratories; and offices for faculty, staff, and research assistants.
The building is estimated to cost $75 million, and will take two and a half years to complete. Cubbage says the university is still in the fundraising stage, but the building is "definitely a go." They expect to have a lead gift with about a third of the money in a few months, and they already have a small grant from the federal government.
— Kate O'Rourke