- Jasmin Patel, Assistant Vice President, Research Strategy, Saint Louis University
- Julia Lane, Executive Director, Research Development, University of Chicago
Thanks to our session note-taker, Sarah Polasky!
Key points from the session. We learned:
- Session focused on physical space that has been designed and built for research development activities – physical infrastructure to change conversation on and off campus for research development purposes, benefits of the spaces, discussion about spaces in use by audience, successes, and future needs.
- Entrepreneurial community spaces – collaboration spaces, coworking spaces, communal workspaces for diverse groups – open concept, relaxing, white boards, amenities (snacks, high speed internet), programming, opportunities to meet with investors.
- 4 types of silos in academia – faculty-faculty; faculty-administrators; research-development/fundraising; industry-university.
- Examples of spaces:
- Faculty-Faculty: Neutral Space – Catalyst (UChicago, ARETE) – externally funded with low startup and maintenance costs ($100K; $200/mo); revamped a former tech store; lots of programming offered; research development staff co-located; open space/concept; coffee, wine, food; 3rd floor of bookstore; open to faculty primarily, potentially could expand to graduate students.
- Faculty-Administrators: Increasing Proximity to VPR – ResearchNorth (St. Louis U.) – changing culture of research office and increasing accessibility; very low startup and maintenance ($20K; $160/mo; 525 sq. ft.); programming; intellectual resources (books); faculty can use it for meetings (use increasing) and lab meetings bring students to the space; snacks, coffee, beer; open door culture has increased casual interaction; VPR and Provost have dropped in on meetings; similar space has been requested for second campus – space has somewhat bridged a physical division between north and south campuses.
- Research-Development/Fundraising: Philanthropic Space – Computer & Data Science Hub (UChicago) – very expensive ($ not disclosed) paid via a major naming gift and matched university funds; over 27k sq. ft.; houses computer science, computational resources, digital humanities; conceived as first floor of a traditional library.
- Industry-University: Industry – Cortex (St. Louis U.) part of CIC space in St Louis – $5000 startup; rent $4500/mo; 440 sq. ft.; emphasis on community presence and partnership; required more internal advocacy (convince president); considering space versus personnel; two other universities were already present at the space when they joined; Technology Transfer for SLU also at this location; used for student business competitions.
- Still trying to capture ROI for the spaces – new metrics that could be captured that could or should be considered – plus considering the potential – is there a long term plan or idea for these spaces?
What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?
- Wide range of startup and maintenance costs.
- Underutilization of space, often due to location, was echoed in comments from attendees.
What resources did you discover at this presentation?
- Exemplary innovation hubs: Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC); Swedish Incubators and Science Parks.
- Feld, B. (2015) Start-up communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in your Community. Focused on Boulder, CO.
- Youtie, J. & Shapira, P. (2008). Building an innovation hub: A case study of the transformation of university roles in regional technological and economic development. Research Policy, 37(8), 1188-1204. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2008.04.012
- Cyber Canoe for online collaboration and media sharing, free and open source.
What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?
- How do these incubators calculate impact (e.g., number of jobs)? Count number of new companies, the number of jobs each, and number of jobs with co-located/nearby new companies (coffee shops, deli).
- Were architects involved? Round tables somewhat force collaboration as an example, versus linear tables that allow isolation.
- Catalyst space – yes. Designed spaces were too expensive and too corporate. Designed internally and was less expensive even with custom furniture. Feels more like a living room. New larger space will have designers involved but faculty want to maintain the feel of the catalyst space.
- Cortex – used Ikea for renderings. Was initially too corporate but did use reconfigurable desks.
What else from this session should NORDP members know?
- Lots of audience participation and questions about both strategic planning for the space and functional, practical uses of the space. Many questions about use of space for students versus faculty.