What happens when researchers from across the University of Virginia come together and collaborate? The answer, according to the Office of the Vice President for Research, is anything and everything.
The Research Collaboration Corner, a flexible workspace for groups to connect and work together on interdisciplinary projects, became available for reservations in February. An open house will be held Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. for anyone interested in touring the space and learning more.
The Research Collaboration Corner is located at 1400 University Avenue – formally the location of OpenGrounds, a collaboration and event space. The Office of the Vice President for Research has reimagined the space to continue encouraging and facilitating faculty and student groups tackling new projects while also institutionalizing the original mission of OpenGrounds to drive new research growth.
Situated on University Avenue, the “gateway” to the University’s historic Grounds, and across from the Corner, a hub of retail activity, the Research Collaboration Corner is intended to integrate research with education and community engagement, bridge industry and academics, and encourage meaningful connections across disciplines for faculty, staff and students.
William Sherman, an award-winning architect, UVA professor, associate vice president for research in design, arts and humanities, and founding director of OpenGrounds, transformed the historic building with SMBW architects and designed a space meant to act as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration. While keeping the airy and modern open plan, the space now has updated technology to accommodate small groups for research-related meetings. Like hoteling spaces popular in urban tech hubs, there is also desk space available for pan-University institutes.
The Office of the Vice President for Research’s mission is to facilitate and enhance partnerships in the UVA research community. “Creating a centralized meeting area enables the research community to come together to share ideas across schools and subject areas,” said Melur K. “Ram” Ramasubramanian, UVA’s vice president for research. “The Research Collaboration Corner is designed to help researchers connect and collaborate, and work on projects together.”
Several programs under the direction of Ramasubramanian’s office encourage and nurture collaboration among researchers at the University. In July, the office launched the 3 Cavaliers Project, awarding more than $4.5 million in seed money to new research projects that crossed barriers and disciplines and were submitted by 77 teams made up of three researchers from different departments and schools. These projects will be given priority to schedule the space.
A symposium in December will give all the 3 Cavaliers teams an opportunity to present their findings and progress to the University community. The early seed funding is intended to help researchers find more funding opportunities as they work to complete their projects.
“When researchers join forces and share their unique perspectives, the process leads to innovation and exciting new ideas,” Ramasubramanian said. “Our hope is that this space will encourage even more cooperation between faculty, students and outside partners.”