A new building going up west of Essex Hall will be an “exceptional facility” for scientific research and innovation, UWindsor president Alan Wildeman said Thursday in response to the announcement of almost $15 million in federal funding for the facility.

“From cancer research to new materials, there is a broad range of scientific expertise at the University of Windsor,” Dr. Wildeman said. “This research capacity is going to benefit greatly from this investment and will, in turn, benefit our region and country.”

Odette School of Business alumnus Navdeep Bains (MBA 2001), minister of innovation, science and economic development, said he was “back home again” to make the announcement. The Canadian government will contribute $14.95 million from its Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund toward the three-storey Science Research and Innovation Facility.

The provincial government will chip in $2.56 million, with the University responsible for the balance of the projected $30.3 million cost.

“This historic investment is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation,” Bains said. “That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and start-up companies into global successes.”

The new spaces will focus on three areas of research, said dean of science Chris Houser:

  • Advanced materials, including nano-technology and biometrics
  • Translational health, bringing discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside with particular emphasis on cancer
  • Medical physics, including medical imaging and diagnostic technologies

Each floor will be an open-concept lab devoted to one of these fields, allowing for changes as needs evolve, Dr. Houser said.

“All of the labs are glass, completely transparent,” he said. “It’s indicative of the approach we are hoping for — collaborative and open to bringing in partners.”

Houser added that the new spaces will support undergraduate and graduate research, which he called “the most effective learning experience for students.”

Ingrid Qemo, a doctoral student of biology, agreed.

“The Science Research and Innovation Facility will help to attract the best and brightest students and will help shape our scientific community,” she said. “It’s facilities like this that stand at the centre of research, education and innovation, which play major roles in producing some of the greatest scientific discoveries worldwide.”

The building will comprise 46,000 square feet. Contractor Amico Design Build has begun initial construction work, with a target completion date of April 2018.