By David Lewellen
A new building on FAU’s Jupiter Campuswill be an important milestone for
the FAU Brain Institute – but director Randy Blakely says it’s just the beginning of a 10-year plan.
The new building, scheduled for groundbreaking in the spring of 2020, will be a 60,000-square-foot, $35 million facility with space for more than 30 researchers. Three years after the Brain Institute was set up, Blakely sees it as “a beachhead.” The new space, the first building dedicated to the institute, will “let us add significantly to the faculty we’ve already recruited. We can expand our Jupiter base while we recruit in Boca.” All Brain Institute researchers hold a dual appointment with an FAU college.
The Brain Institute works closely with the Max Planck Institute and the Scripps Research Institute, two private organizations that share space in Jupiter with FAU. Daniel Flynn, FAU’s vice president for research, said that with the three groups’ different but complementary research agendas, “you’re creating an ecosystem that's a rich intellectual environment for people to interact and exchange ideas.” It will also include incubation space for companies seeking to market discoveries made at FAU, and opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research. Scheduled presentations by guest speakers plus regular coffee gatherings mean that “a couple of people in the room can say, ‘I’ve got an idea, let’s work on it.’”
The new building is “about step four” in starting a new institution from zero. But when the building opens at the end of 2021, it will mark the early stage of the plan. "We’re already planning the next two buildings.” Eventually, he said, if the Brain Institute moves beyond basic research to studies involving people, programming could overlap with FAU’s medical and nursing schools in Boca Raton.
FAU’s rapid ascent to the national stage has been fueled in part by the tremendous offerings in Jupiter. Since the campus opening in 1999, it has offered students and scholars exceptional opportunities through groundbreaking programs in research and education. The new neuroscience building will continue that legacy.
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