The Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building is a $90 million project that will help attract top-quality faculty in applied research with lab space for world-class research and discovery. This project will lead to greater access to higher education and increases in partnerships and discovery with local industry partners.
The building will provide for globally-competitive research programs and produce highly-skilled graduates who will compete successfully in the global workforce.
Why is this particular project important to ECU?
“It will be a key regional asset for economic development in the eastern part of North Carolina. ECU’s Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building will increase research funding in eastern North Carolina, help recruit and retain innovative researchers and students, and increase production of sciences, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) graduates. As a result of working in state-of-the-art facilities, these graduates will be better prepared. These graduates will have higher-than-average starting salaries, will work for industrial, government and military partners who will be attracted to the region, and boost the industrial and entrepreneurial investment in the region.”
How does the selected project help meet your stated educational goals?
“The building directly supports two of East Carolina’s primary commitments: student success and regional transformation. The building will house the Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing Center of Excellence, our bioprocess and biomedical engineering programs and will provide a new home for the ECU Department of Biology, where researchers and students will focus on molecular and cell biology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, evolutionary biology and environmental biology.
This new facility will reflect contemporary approaches to scientific problem-solving. Open research spaces will allow scientists and students from various fields to work together to make discoveries in crop science, agricultural technology and agricultural products. They will use it to discover new and more efficient ways to manufacture pharmaceuticals and biological products such as vaccines. Scientists and students will use the space to seek answers to questions about North Carolina’s environment, the ecological impacts of development, water quality and more. They will connect with researchers across ECU and beyond.”
What impact will completion of the project have beyond the campus?
“The Life Sciences and Technology Building will directly address a job/work force demand in biomedical and bioprocess engineering in North Carolina by enabling and supporting the growth of ECU’s engineering programs from 700 to 1,000 students by 2019.
The Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building will be eastern North Carolina’s newest major intersection of education, jobs, the university, industry, innovation and economic development. In 2015, ECU received $44.4 million in external research funding.
In 2015, ECU filed 13 U.S. Patent applications, was awarded 13 patents, and had 14 active license/option agreements with small businesses, eight of which were to start-up companies. The Life Sciences Building will provide critical spaces and resources where students, faculty and industry experts in the region work together, utilizing Team Science to develop solutions and products. Team Science is collaboration across disciplines to address real-world problems. Teams of scientists require the right facility to accommodate intentional collaboration. We want to assure that our scientists and engineers work closely together to address regional problems. This includes pharmaceutical companies as well as work that leverages the region’s agricultural biotechnology.”
What other benefits of the bond passage would you like to discuss?
“ECU’s portion of the bond package will benefit our students and the region’s economic development. By strategically co-locating biological and engineering sciences, ECU will be well-situated to seek smart solutions to some of the problems faced by the region’s people, military, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and natural environment. We look forward to opening the doors of this new facility to create these smart solutions with our partners in the region and beyond.”