Designing for Our National Laboratories

  • March 6, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Blair

CannonDesign has a long and proud history of designing many of our national laboratories around the country. These facilities require an immense amount of expertise, attention and innovation to deliver exceptional solutions for our nation’s top scientists. Here are some of our top examples:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Spallation Neutron Source Second Target Station

Expanding the capabilities of a facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for an international user community.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Chemical and Material Sciences Building

Unique sustainable strategies for this building include a photovoltaic array, light shelves, operable windows, and hybrid solar lighting – a technology developed at ORNL.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Maximum Energy Efficiency Lab (MAXLAB)

The multifunctional envelope laboratory contains high-bay space for construction and testing of assemblies in a clamshell apparatus to characterize capture of thermal and solar energy, air, and moisture.

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How Great Facility Design Can Earn Millions More in R&D Grants

  • July 26, 2016
  • Author: Stephen Blair

Excellent facility design will be your R&D grant differentiator

Funding challenges are a major concern for many institutions around the United States. Colleges and universities are tasked with securing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in grants each year to continue their important research and development. When applying for R&D funding from the federal government, the proposed scientific concept needs to hold merit, but equally important is showing the merit of your research facility. How will the facility support the research and development within?

Related Content: Infographic: Navigating the Complexities of Federal Grants

For construction, renovation and equipment grant applications, the requirements include engineering criteria, architectural criteria, line drawings, timelines, construction documents, equipment plans, operating budgets and more. With hundreds of institutions competing for a limited amount of funding, the way you present the facility design plays a pivotal role in setting the top applications apart from the rest.

R&D grant the importance of design in grant funding

Partnering for your grant application success

CannonDesign has extensive experience teaming with scientists and administrators throughout the grant application process. We have a depth of knowledge of the federal agency research programs which we use to support academic facility renovation and construction. Additionally, we are experts in navigating the complex design requirements necessary to achieve a successful score.

R&D grant the importance of design in grant funding

After the application has been awarded, our team can shorten the review process by submitting detailed drawings during the design development, schematic design and construction document phases.

Contact us today for assistance with your grant application:

Get the Infographic: Navigating the Complexities of Federal Grants

3 New Ways of Looking at the University Research Park

  • December 2, 2015
  • Author: Stephen Blair

The Association of University Research Park’s (AURP) national conference was held at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus where leading academics, researchers and scientists convened to share the latest trends and ideas in research park development. There is a growing need to think holistically about these incubators of innovation, research and technology. Here are the 3 top trends that arose.

1. A successful park not only transforms the university, but also the surrounding community

Gone are the days of research parks existing solely for the benefit of the university. There is huge socio-economic value to consider in the larger community context. How can a new park link once disparate places? How can it be a driver of more development in the surrounding area? Universities must begin to think in a broader context and take the community into serious account.  The concept of the research park is becoming much broader and more engaging and the research aspects of the park are being considered anchors for innovation districts.


University of Central Florida’s proposed downtown campus master plan

A great example of this model is The University of Central Florida (UCF). The university is embarking on a major transformation, establishing a twenty-acre campus in the heart of downtown Orlando. By delivering an innovative urban model that integrates anchor institutions directly into core fabric of the city, UCF Downtown will create deliberate local community impact, increase partnerships with government and business, enable greater alignment with job creation and economic development, and help foster a lively and vibrant downtown.

2. Engaging all parties in the early stages of development is key

Key stakeholders need to be engaged in the design and visioning process as early as possible. We can no longer just design in a vacuum and hope for a positive outcome. Deliberately engaging partners in the university, community organizations and government entities will ensure the complex projects are moving forward collectively—making contract negotiation easier in the long-run.

Identifying key stakeholders may begin with the university, but should ultimately extend beyond the campus boundaries to include local businesses and corporations, state and local government representatives, and neighbors in the surrounding community. The research park can serve as a catalyst for the community where the university connects with the community and industry to share ideas, collaborate and create opportunities for economic growth and general community well-being.

3. High density leads to more opportunity

How can research parks evolve from the one-off commuter complexes? Plan for density.  Locate them in areas with high density or plan for a good mix of occupancies to fill-in existing parks. More people live in cities than ever before and high-density means higher connectivity, greater opportunities for sustainability, and further development in the surrounding area such as retail and housing.

We need to take advantage of the wonderful resources research parks can be for their communities and begin to consider the hours before and after the 8-hour workday. By envisioning the 18-hour day, parks can be enhanced with many amenities that can serve the community beyond the workday.

Fast Company Features CannonDesign Ideas to Help Universities

  • October 7, 2015
  • Author: Stephen Blair

Colleges and universities need to find new ways to recruit, retain and graduate STEM students – and design thinking can help. That’s the driving message in Stephen Blair’s new piece for Fast Company, “3 New Ideas to Help Universities Attract and Empower STEM Students,” which identities getting out of the basement, embracing startup culture and infusing cutting-edge technology as key opportunities.f