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: sblair@cannondesign.com


Get the Infographic: Navigating the Complexities of Federal Grants

Universities Need to Recruit and Retain STEM Students With Design

  • June 3, 2016
  • Author: Stephen Blair

It’s time for action: Investing in STEM students

It’s undeniable that universities need to attract more students to Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) programs moving forward. The U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology predicts that in the next decade, we will need approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than we will produce at our current rate. Currently about 300,000 graduates obtain bachelor and associate degrees in STEM fields every year. In order to create this new workforce of 1 million additional STEM experts, that number needs to increase by 100,000 annually.

The challenge cannot simply be met by attracting more students. STEM experts say universities must also address current rates of STEM learning program attrition. Reports indicate that only of 40% who enroll in STEM programs graduate with STEM degrees. The remaining 60% switch to non-STEM fields or drop out of college entirely.

Related Content: To address the challenges of attraction and retention, educational institutions throughout the country are trading in traditional teaching methods for new pedagogical techniques.

These new methods move beyond a model where students passively listen to lectures and cram for tests, to methods that engage students in activities, enable collaboration across STEM disciplines, and encourage students to use their hands just as much as their heads.

With these new approaches to learning and teaching come new approaches to designing learning environments. These new spaces are obliterating the stereotypes associated with traditional STEM classrooms and fostering the type of creative brilliance that can help us educate and arm 1 million new STEM graduates.

Is your higher ed institution trying to retain STEM students?

Here are two key STEM trends that can help universities along with examples of institutions leading the charge.

1. Put science on display: Let space educate

Historically, teaching laboratories and research spaces have been located in building core areas or in the basement. These underground “lairs” were uninviting and uncomfortable for those using them – they featured little to now windows, no natural light, and the overall environment felt more institutional than educational. This can no longer be the approach moving forward. Countless studies show that the design of classroom environments influence students’ motivation and learning, and universities are seeing the value in letting the student body become spectators in the science process. From a design perspective, we use the term “putting science on display” pretty regularly. The general idea is to place science classrooms and laboratories in public, high-traffic areas. Instead of solid walls, expansive floor-to-ceiling windows celebrate the sciences by allowing passersby to observe research activities, they can watch as it unfolds creating curiosity and interest. The University of Buffalo has embraced this idea with its Clinical Translational Research Center. Embedded in the same building as Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute, the CTRC uses interior glass throughout the building to show science in an open, transparent process.

2. Infuse appropriate technology into S&T academic environments

Millennials and Generation Z grew up in a digital world and expect to take full advantage of technology in every aspect of life, especially college. However, technology hasn’t revolutionized education the way it has other industries. STEM learning environments can be leading examples for how using technology can enhance learning by making it more engaging and accessible.

The Missouri University of Science & Technology’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Building is one example of how universities can leverage such technology. Within the building, a virtual reality laboratory allows students to interact with computer-generated images in an immersive virtual environment. Additionally, the Missouri University facility offers a fabrication laboratory which enables students to explore and experiment with digital design and manufacturing as they create prototypes.

These are just two of several ways design thinking can help universities rise to the challenge of educating our next generation of STEM students.

6 Ways Colleges and Universities Can Use Design to Retain STEM Students


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.

ucf

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

Universities Need to Recruit and Retain STEM Students With Design

  • July 13, 2014
  • Author: Stephen Blair

It’s time for action: Investing in STEM students

It’s undeniable that universities need to attract more students to Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) programs moving forward. The U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology predicts that in the next decade, we will need approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than we will produce at our current rate. Currently about 300,000 graduates obtain bachelor and associate degrees in STEM fields every year. In order to create this new workforce of 1 million additional STEM experts, that number needs to increase by 100,000 annually.

The challenge cannot simply be met by attracting more students. STEM experts say universities must also address current rates of STEM learning program attrition. Reports indicate that only of 40% who enroll in STEM programs graduate with STEM degrees. The remaining 60% switch to non-STEM fields or drop out of college entirely.

Related Content: To address the challenges of attraction and retention, educational institutions throughout the country are trading in traditional teaching methods for new pedagogical techniques.

These new methods move beyond a model where students passively listen to lectures and cram for tests, to methods that engage students in activities, enable collaboration across STEM disciplines, and encourage students to use their hands just as much as their heads.

With these new approaches to learning and teaching come new approaches to designing learning environments. These new spaces are obliterating the stereotypes associated with traditional STEM classrooms and fostering the type of creative brilliance that can help us educate and arm 1 million new STEM graduates.

Is your higher ed institution trying to retain STEM students?

Here are two key STEM trends that can help universities along with examples of institutions leading the charge.

1. Put science on display: Let space educate

Historically, teaching laboratories and research spaces have been located in building core areas or in the basement. These underground “lairs” were uninviting and uncomfortable for those using them – they featured little to now windows, no natural light, and the overall environment felt more institutional than educational. This can no longer be the approach moving forward. Countless studies show that the design of classroom environments influence students’ motivation and learning, and universities are seeing the value in letting the student body become spectators in the science process. From a design perspective, we use the term “putting science on display” pretty regularly. The general idea is to place science classrooms and laboratories in public, high-traffic areas. Instead of solid walls, expansive floor-to-ceiling windows celebrate the sciences by allowing passersby to observe research activities, they can watch as it unfolds creating curiosity and interest. The University of Buffalo has embraced this idea with its Clinical Translational Research Center. Embedded in the same building as Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute, the CTRC uses interior glass throughout the building to show science in an open, transparent process.

2. Infuse appropriate technology into S&T academic environments

Millennials and Generation Z grew up in a digital world and expect to take full advantage of technology in every aspect of life, especially college. However, technology hasn’t revolutionized education the way it has other industries. STEM learning environments can be leading examples for how using technology can enhance learning by making it more engaging and accessible.

The Missouri University of Science & Technology’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Building is one example of how universities can leverage such technology. Within the building, a virtual reality laboratory allows students to interact with computer-generated images in an immersive virtual environment. Additionally, the Missouri University facility offers a fabrication laboratory which enables students to explore and experiment with digital design and manufacturing as they create prototypes.

These are just two of several ways design thinking can help universities rise to the challenge of educating our next generation of STEM students.

6 Ways Colleges and Universities Can Use Design to Retain STEM Students