Iowa State has built up a physical hub for the ambitious work of Innovate at Iowa State. Now fully open, the $84 million Student Innovation Center is a five-level building that has been specifically designed to foster innovation and facilitate collaboration by erasing artificial barriers among disciplines.
“It’s not just a building,” said Jim Oliver, Student Innovation Center director and University Professor. “It’s a bold experiment to change the face of education. This is mostly shared space for students from any college or major – and that never happens in higher education.”
Within its high-tech walls, the Student Innovation Center has collaborative workspaces, hands-on materials labs, office and workshop space for student clubs, and more R&D equipment than you can imagine. It also serves as the home base for more than 80 Innovate at Iowa State programs that nurture ideas and channel energy surrounding student and faculty innovations.
“Since moving our programs to the Student Innovation Center, the collaborative efforts are really taking off,” said Entrepreneur in Residence and Director of Innovation Programming Karen Piconi-Kerns. “The ideas are evolving and maturing so much faster because the students’ innovations can be created and tested immediately in the different makerspaces all under one roof. It’s just incredible.”
Oliver knows that the needs of Iowa State’s innovators will continually, and quickly evolve. So he is committed to monitoring and expanding makerspace resources within the Student Innovation Center. This will ensure it always has state-of-the-art equipment and materials available to students and staff.