The University of Georgia held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Research Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

The 100,000-square-foot I-STEM Research Building 1 features flexible, open lab spaces designed to promote collaboration and elevate UGA’s expanding lab-intensive research activities, particularly within the disciplines of chemistry, engineering and material sciences. It will soon be united with a phase 2 building, which is currently under construction.

“The opening of the I-STEM Research Building 1 reflects UGA’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches that are essential to addressing complex, global problems — approaches that will lead to the next generation of products and services that improve our quality of life in Georgia and beyond,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.”>

UGA President Jere W. Morehead speaks during the dedication ceremony. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Dean Alan Dorsey, College of Engineering Dean Donald Leo and student speakers Alanna Koritzke and Yang Liu also addressed the crowd of more than 200 people, which included Sen. Frank Ginn, Rep. Houston Gaines, Rep. Marcus Wiedower and members of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

The $79.6 million I-STEM Research Building 1, which includes three levels of laboratory and support space and a four-story parking deck underneath, was funded by a combination of university and state funds. It is home to more than 30 faculty and 100 graduate students working in areas ranging from cell imaging and microfluidic separation to combustion chemistry and medical robotics.

“In the I-STEM building alone, our faculty are researching novel ways to detect and treat deadly diseases such as cancer,” said Leo. “And they are researching innovative manufacturing systems for industries that increase the economic competitiveness of our state — industries such as agriculture, the automotive sector, and aerospace.”

The I-STEM buildings are part of a multi-year capital plan to build, renovate and modernize hundreds of thousands of square feet devoted to research and innovation in and around the section of campus known as Science Hill.

In addition to these new buildings, the university is working to modernize existing research facilities on Science Hill to keep pace with continued growth in research and development.

The plan includes renovation of approximately 105,000 square feet in the original Chemistry Building and more than 120,000 square feet of laboratory space in the Biological Sciences Building.

Kemp, who has been an ardent supporter of STEM education, said that, “Georgia has prioritized and invested in a world-class workforce training infrastructure that has quickly become – and remained – the envy of the nation.”

Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during the dedication ceremony. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)