Florida State University officials broke ground Monday on an $88 million building that will serve as a collaborative space for researchers from a variety of fields focused on creating and advancing new materials.
The Interdisciplinary Research and Commercialization Building, with funding provided by the Florida Legislature and FSU Research Foundation, will be constructed on the corner of Levy Avenue and Engineering Way in the Innovation Park corridor.
“I’m a lawyer by trade, so I don’t always understand the work that our scientists and engineers do, but I am in constant awe of their relentless pursuit of innovation,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “And I do know they need the space and resources to continue to achieve excellence. This new building will house researchers and students who will push the boundaries of science, make new discoveries and change the world through science.”
The 116,000-square-foot building is designed to facilitate interactions in laboratories, core facilities and strategically placed collaboration spaces. It will consist of three floors of mostly open labs, sized for up to 30 research groups, 24 postdoctoral researchers and 155 graduate and undergraduate students.
The project originated in 2013 when former Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander was evaluating the research portfolio and targeting areas for expansion. Over the next several years, the university advocated for funding before the Legislature.
“We will have researchers from chemistry, physics and engineering all working together with the end goal of moving the field of materials science forward,” said Interim Vice President for Research Laurel Fulkerson. “The university made some wonderful strategic hires in those fields several years ago and has a strong foundation to build upon.”
Several university employees have been involved in the planning of the building, including former Associate Vice President for Research Ross Ellington and Director of Research Facilities Design, Construction and Maintenance Mary Jo Spector.
The building is the university’s latest addition to the southwest campus, which is intertwined with Innovation Park. FSU buildings in that area include the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the High-Performance Materials Institute and the Aero-Propulsion, Mechatronics and Energy Building, among others.
Ricardo Schneider, president of Danfoss Turbocor and a member of the FSU Research Foundation board, noted that the addition of the IRCB will complement the other facilities and companies in the area.
“The potential for collaboration is endless,” he said. “Scientists and engineers want to find solutions to problems and to create. With the IRCB, FSU is creating a place for that problem solving and creativity.”
The university is working with the architecture firm HGA of Boston. The building is projected to open in 2024.