Science collaboration built from the ground up
Whether it’s in the daily stream of students through McQuinn Atrium, the chance conversations between scientists in its hallways or the postdoctoral researchers in the Catalyst Café, the Bond LSC has created a physical environment in which it’s difficult for occupants not to interact.
“This place is intended to be a coordinated organism, not a hotel for good scientists,” says Jack Schultz, director of the Bond LSC since 2007. “It’s been a fascinating but slow process to see investigators gain from working with others outside of their field who overlap in an aspect of their research.”
Since its beginning, the center has reaped the fruits of this shared labor. In 10 years, its scientists have garnered approximately $140 million in grants, more than offsetting the $65 million initial cost of the center. Overall, its investigators receive about 30 percent of grants they apply for, and the center ranks fifth in yearly research expenditures among all MU colleges and divisions.
Both the National Academy of Sciences and National Institutes of Health agree this sort of convergent science, cutting across disciplines, is the future. The former highlighted the Bond LSC in a 2014 report as among those programs that excel in being exceptionally “nimble in their focus” of steering faculty toward interdisciplinary convergence and novel research approaches.
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