By Daniel C. Houston
Baylor administrators are planning to move about 100 faculty and staff members into the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative facility by January 2013 as Phase 1 of the construction plans draws to a close.
The university secured funding for the next stage of construction last week when it successfully sold $120 million in bonds, about $12 million of which is devoted to the research facility, according to Dr. Truell Hyde, vice provost for research.
“Phase 2A is basically what I’m calling the critical mass phase,” Hyde said. “It will provide space within the building for us to move the first group of Baylor faculty into the building.”
When completed, Phase 2 will provide about 45,000 square feet of research space for the electrical engineering department, the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research, and the Hankamer School of Business Innovative Business Accelerator, and others, according to a Nov. 4 press release.
“The BRIC is not the normal university research park,” Hyde said. “It’s actually something completely new and different where you mix university research with the Innovative Business Accelerator.”
The IBA is a business-school entity that will develop marketing plans and business plans of a nature that would normally come from a business incubator, Hyde said.
The BRIC facilities will also have about 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of space devoted to key business partnerships. Approximately 100 businesses from all over the world have contacted Baylor in the last year to express interest in these partnerships.
The purpose of these partnerships, Hyde said, is to promote greater synergy among businesses and Baylor researchers “so you get something out of that grouping that’s greater than the sum of its parts.”
Hyde expects the results of the partnerships to positively impact the economy.
Dr. Kwang Lee, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, said as many as a dozen members of his department will have research efforts housed in the new BRIC laboratories in the next couple of years.
“Right now, with our existing faculty, we have about six or seven faculty who will be moving [to the BRIC],” Lee said. “However, as I mentioned, we have new faculty coming in every year, and they will all be located in the BRIC building for research labs. At the end of the next couple of years, I would say there will be about a dozen faculty with labs in the BRIC facility.”
The department’s research efforts are spread between the Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building, Marrs McLean Science Building, and the former Air Force ROTC building, the engineering research annex.
Lee said the additional BRIC laboratory space will be a big benefit to the electrical engineering department.
“We are expanding to larger facility because we just don’t have the space in Rogers building,” Lee said. “We currently have 15 faculty. … We will be adding six new faculty in the next four years. This requires more research space.”