$70 million BU tech complex to foster interdisciplinary research

Monica Sandreczki
September 3, 2014

Binghamton University is in the first stages of constructing the new home to its physics and chemistry departments. But it’s more than Bunsen burners and good ventilation.

Case and point: Wei Zhao. She’s in year three of a PhD program in chemistry. At the groundbreaking event for the Innovative Technologies Complex last week, Zhao explained she’s doing research that could one day change the way cell phones are made.

"If you check the YouTube, you can see in the future, we want to have flexible cell phone, flexible TV, which means for the TV and the cell phone, you can bend the cell phone," said Zhao. "If you drop the cell phone, you don’t even need to be afraid you’re going to break the cell phone. That’s the future direction of the flexible device.

The chair of Zhao’s department is chemistry professor Wayne Jones. Jones says the building was designed to cater to inter-departmental research.

"Traditionally, lab spaces are focused on one type of problem, one type of professor, one type of research. This is going to expand that," says Jones.

Jones says they’ll also host a set of incubators for new companies through the StartUp-NY program.

"I think we are at the leading edge here," says Jones. "Most facilities today are trying to become more collaborative but they’re not sure how to do this. We have designed this on an open floor plan concept where faculty come together to solve problems."

The complex is expected to be complete in 2017.