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By Linda Nguyen
Baylor research is expanding as Baylor departments and faculty begin to move into the new Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative building. Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative is a partnership between Baylor, Texas State Technical College and local businesses.
Baylor electrical engineering, Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research and Baylor Center for Spatial Research are the departments and institutes beginning to relocate their research labs to the new BRIC building located at U.S. Highway 77 and Orchard Lane.
Dr. Truell Hyde, vice provost for research and director of CASPER, said he is excited for the Baylor Research Innovation Collaborative.
“It’s basically a brand-new paradigm different from anything anyone else has done,” Hyde said. “Inside the building is about 340,000 square feet, which is about the size of the science building if you delete the atrium.”
Hyde said the building will house engineering research, CASPER, Baylor Center for Spatial Research and an Innovative Business Accelerator as well as local businesses.
The Innovative Business Accelerator is run out of the School of Business. It can provide marketing plans, business plans or digital media plans that companies moving into town might need to get started.
The electrical engineering department was one of the first groups to move into their new research labs in the BRIC building. Research was originally spread between the Engineering Research Annex and the Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building.
Dr. Kwang Lee, department of electrical engineering chair, said the new building will allow the department to expand its research labs and attract new faculty members.
“The last couple years, we’ve been hiring new faculty and expanding our research labs,” Lee said.
Lee said after the Baylor Board of Regents approved the electrical engineering department’s Ph.D. program in 2010, the university approved the hiring of 10 new faculty members to expand the program.
“Whenever new faculty comes in, they need a research lab,” Lee said. “Rogers doesn’t have that, so tentatively, the university allowed us to use the engineering research annex, but now that BRIC is completed, we are moving into the second floor.”
Lee said the building research labs are larger than the previous research labs they have used.
“It will be a first-class research facility,” Lee said.
Hyde said the building will also include a symposium space for the partners as well as Baylor faculty who need meeting space to bring in national and international research meetings.
“There’s space for about 300 people plus breakout space,” Hyde said.
Hyde said there is 40,000 square feet for TSTC’s advanced workforce training program and 50,000 square feet for industry partners to become part of the collaboration.
“As far as we can tell, the ability to provide research and development, business incubation, workforce development and actual industry support through industrial partners is unique,” Hyde said. “We’re programming the building so the research coming out will bump into the businesses and industry. It’s synergy, which was the same idea behind the science department having all the departments in one building and the atrium to connect them all. It’s an interesting experiment.”
Hyde said the institutes in the building are all interdisciplinary involving different academic departments.
“For example, CASPER has faculty from the School of Business, School of Engineering, College of Arts and Science, School of Education, and also faculty from German China, countries in South America and all over,” Hyde said.
Hyde said the building was built as a research-only building.
“There won’t be formal classes, but I think the best place for students to learn is in a research lab one-on-one with a faculty member,” Hyde said.