It’s no secret that quality and cutting edge research is a defining characteristic of Australia’s Universities. And while state-of-the-art infrastructure has long been recognised as the engine fuelling research development, the fast pace of innovation is driving increased competition in this area.
As a result, many universities are focusing on how to leverage partnerships and new technology to design, construct, operate and maintain innovative and flexible research facilities.
But what actually makes a research facility ‘innovative? And more importantly, what strategies can universities use to avoid mistakes in planning and development stages to ensure they create a collaborative, flexible and leading facility for the future?
Ahead of the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit, here are 5 strategies Universities can use to design and develop flexible research facilities for the future.
Below, influencers from La Trobe University, Woods Bagot, Southern Cross University, The University of Adelaide and the German Max Planck Institute share the strategies they are each using in their own research facility projects to ensure project success.
1. Set a clear vision
Jussi Helppi, Head of Biomedical Services – Speaker of Facilities & Services, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) (Germany)
“Designing the Institute’s facilities wasn’t much of a struggle. We were lucky to have right architects (Heikkinen & Komonen, together with HENN Architects) for the building, where the directors basically had the luxury of finding who understood what we wanted to do before they even started drawing the schematics.
While the architects focused on the architecture, the interior laboratory planning was mostly done – in close collaboration with the scientists – by another company based here in Germany: Dr Heinekamp Labor und Institutsplanung. The building was finished in early 2001.
As in every planning process, there were challenges to manage. Our building was financed mostly by the Max Planck Society, but as the future users of the building we, the institute, managed at the end to maintain good control of the process. Although the balancing act between us (the users), the central building headquarters of the Society in Munich, and the planners and architects was not always easy, at the end we got the building built according to our ideas and visions.
The main reason for our success in the building process was the clear mandate our founding directors gave the architects – to provide a building on the highest level in technical and practical terms in laboratory design that also promotes synergy, cooperation and community. Thus, the institute’s building has been carefully designed to force scientists to come together, to create the critical mass necessary for new discoveries.
2. Consider future adaptability and expansion
Russell Hoye, Pro Vice Chancellor of Research and Director of La Trobe Sport, at La Trobe University
“Located on 60 hectares in the southwest corner of the La Trobe University campus in Bundoora, the Sports Park will provide a unique environment for play, performance training, teaching and research in sport.
The Sports Park initial designs will include an eight-court indoor multisport stadium for netball and basketball. Other infrastructure planned to be built include a strength and conditioning training facility, teaching and research space, synthetic hockey and football pitches and upgrades to existing ovals and pavilions.All these facilities will be available for community use – for teaching and coaching purposes,” says Russell.
As part of La Trobe University’s Master Plan 2014 the Sports Park has been designed with a flexible base infrastructure that allows for multidisciplinary collaboration and future expansion. With the University Town Neighbourhoods Master Plan in place we’re future-proofing our investment by designing the Sports Park’s physical layout to allow for future expansion and room to include more pitches.
Additionally, we’ve worked with architects and engineers who have identified underlying infrastructure requirements, so as new application and technologies are developed over time, we can simply plug that into our base infrastructure without needing to do additional core work – the sports facility has a very flexible base infrastructure making it suitable for multiple uses and adaptable for future technologies.”
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Join industry representatives at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit to learn more about how to:
- Address innovation regarding the best designs for research facilities
- Analyse construction strategies to boost operational efficacy Review the development of facilities to maximise space utilisation
- Provide you with the best management advices to prevent a loss in ROI