7 leading examples of best practice in research facility design and development

In an era where innovation drives competition and economic prosperity, designing and developing world-class research facilities has never been more important.

And as technology continues to evolve, universities and research institutes must answer the question: what is the state of the art in research facility design? And, what can we do with our upcoming projects to keep ahead of the pace of change?

Ahead of the 4th Research Facility Design and Development Summit 2018, Higher Ed IQ has compiled 7 leading examples of best practice in Research Facility Design and Development across Australia and the world.

1. Malaghan Institute of Medical Research New Zealand

The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research is New Zealand’s leading independent biomedical research institute. This amazing charitable research institute raised $1.6 million in 2015 through a Charity Golf Tournament to support its research.

To keep up with the latest design trends, research labs within the Malaghan now comprise of multiple disciplines working in one flexible zone. What’s more, the walls that have once partitioned individual investigations have been removed.

Learn first hand from Malaghan’s journey at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit where Darrell Smith Facility Manager at the Malaghan Institute will explore strategies to help you:

  • Design and develop multidisciplinary and centralised research spaces without an income stream
  • Shift focus from an end user level focus to better management strategies
  • Translate the language between researchers to contractors to design the best and flexible facilities
  • Maintain high compliance levels for promising research

2. Sir Samuel Griffith Centre, Griffith University

The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre at Griffith University is an innovative 6 green star rated research facility and showcases as a practical solution to today’s environmental issues. The $40 million building epitomizes Griffith University as one of Australia’s leading environmental universities and relies entirely on photovoltaic arrays and hydrogen technologies to keep it off the power grid.

Not only is it covered by 1,124 solar panels, one of the key spatial elements of the center are its ventilated glazed rain shields to boost visual connectivity between collaboration zones.

Find out more about this unique facility design at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit 2018 where Professor Paul Burton Professor of Urban Management and Planning Sir Samuel Griffith Centre, Griffith University will explore:

  • Where the concept for a ‘green’ facility design derived from
  • Just how green is the solar power, hydrogen power, water harvesting and construction materials
  • Evaluating the cost saving by going green! – does it really work?

3. Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences (SIMS)

The Sydney Institute of Marine Science is a collaborative, multi-university marine science facility at Chowder Bay on Sydney Harbour.

The Institute has repurposed an old naval facility to become the leading multidisciplinary marine facility in NSW. It was designed to enable science and processing of samples ranging from the most basic of field collecting to sophisticated molecular biology.

To date, SIMS has successfully developed government-academic partnerships and now hosts 16 NSW Fishery scientists onsite.

Find out more about SIMS’ journey at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit 2018 where Professor Peter Steinberg, Director at SIMs will delve into:

  • Strategies for effective facility design
  • Establishing SIMS as both a facility and an intellectual hub
  • Managing multi-university partnerships to drive research success
  • Key areas for Future development

4. Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI), Monash University

Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI) is one the world’s most distinguished imaging facilities, housing multi-million equipment to lead global research. Within the facility are interdisciplinary and multimodal imaging research spaces, allowing pre-clinical and clinical applications.

Through sharing pre-clinical and clinical facilities for animal and human research ensures equipment costs are reduced, and services are streamlined.

Learn more about MBIs impressive results through innovative facility design at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development where Dr Lisa Hutton Facility Manager at MBI will share how to:

  • Implement a Shared Imaging Facility for all types of animals and humans to boost space capacity and initial capital outlay
  • Analyze the positive and negative implications of a shared facility for animals and humans
  • Explore additional requirements needed to plan, design and develop a translational fail

5. Southampton Clinical Research Facility (UK)

Different time zone, different country but the same goal! The University of Southampton is a research-intensive university leading world changing research.

In 1998 the University of Southampton – University Hospital Southampton partnership was awarded one of the first 5 “millennial” clinical research facilities (CRFs) in the UK by the Welcome Trust and UK Department of Health. The CRF is now funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research and Southampton also receives core translational infrastructure support from NIHR for nutrition, respiratory and cancer medicine.

In 2012, Professor Saul Faust led an application that doubled the facility’s capability, and the £9.2m core funding (of £102 available nationally) was re-awarded for 2017-22.

Learn more about the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit 2018 where Professor Faust will explain how the facilities evolve and highlight the space, staff and governance required for high quality translational research space, including how to:

  • Introduce flexible, multi-use spaces that will accommodate to changes and requirements
  • Understand the factors why funding into research infrastructure is not the same as it was 5 years ago
  • Set the right priorities for laboratory planning and management for resources
  • Evolve your space plans and designs to meet standards to today

6. National Imaging Facility (NIF)

The Australian National Imaging Facility (NIF) was one of the four initiative projects established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). It is a $130 million project that provides state-of-the- art imaging capability to 26 of the best and most passionate scientists and the Australian Scientific Community.

Professor Graham Galloway is the Chief Executive Officer of the NIF and strongly recognizes the need for a multidisciplinary nature of research and national collaboration.

At the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit 2018, he will share his knowledge and expertise in building a national research infrastructure, including:

  • Developing the best strategies to reduce duplication, maximize utilization and optimize functionality
  • Why you need a whole ecosystem and not just the people who run the equipment to ensure the highest quality of research facilities
  • Establishing better practice for data management is critical!
  • Evaluating the national collaborative research infrastructures’ successes and challenges

7. Children’s Cancer Institute

The Children’s Cancer Institute was delighted to be one of the recipients of the ground breaking $6 million investments from the State Government into pediatrics medical research.

Laboratory researchers and clinical scientists now work together in partnership to discover new treatments, showcasing why translational research facilities will be the future research facilities and a driving force behind world-leading breakthroughs.

Learn more about their journey at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit 2018 where Kiri Collins, Scientific Services Manager at Children’s Cancer Institute will explore the challenges and opportunities of translational research facilities, including how to:

Join Diane at the 7th Annual New Generation Learning Space Design Summit 2018 where she will further explore:

  • Assess the layout of integrated research and clinical facilities and their impact on research outcomes
  • Integrate mechanical systems in translational research facilities and their challenges
  • Ensure flexibility in design to accommodate changes and lack of space
  • Explore Pinch Points as resolutions for increased capacity

Interested in learning more?

These leading examples of effective research design and development will all be explored at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit 2018.


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