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AAU's new building for interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation is scheduled to open on 1 September. Photo: Jakob Andersen Dahl

SCIENCE & INNOVATION HUB WILL BE ABUZZ WITH INTERDISCIPLINARY LIFE FROM DAY ONE

AAU's new building for interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation is scheduled to open on 1 September. Around Aalborg University, work is being done to make the space vibrant and inspiring from the first opening day – but there is still room for more input and ideas from the academic environments.

Text and Photo: Jakob Andersen Dahl, AAU Innovation. Translated by LeeAnn Iovanni, AAU Communication

- The building has been handed over from the contractor. Adjustments and installation of fixtures will take place over the summer, and then on 1 September we expect to open the doors to building full of life and interesting activities for students, researchers, start-ups and external partners.

So says Morten Dahlgaard, AAU Innovation, and the building he is talking about is of course the new AAU Science & Innovation Hub where he is project manager.

AN INTERDISCIPLINARY BUILDING

The 8,500 m2 building now towers over the western part of the east campus in Aalborg with its beautiful façade of glass and wood. According to project manager Morten Dahlgaard, the building will contain the defining features of Aalborg University:

- From the beginning, it has been central to the work on the Science & Innovation Hub that the building and its activities are anchored in the values that characterize the whole of AAU: interdisciplinary and mission-oriented collaboration, commitment, innovation and entrepreneurship, he says.

To ensure that the vision becomes reality, the university's faculties and a large number of councils have helped define the strategy for the Science & Innovation Hub that was adopted by the university's Executive Management in November. Based on the strategy, a number of action plans have been prepared that are currently being executed by AAU Innovation in conjunction with the various units and councils at AAU.

Project manager Morten Dahlgaard comments on the status:

- Preparing to move in to a building like the Science & Innovation Hub is a lot of work. There are a huge number of practical details and other matters that need to be coordinated with many parties, but we are well on our way, also when it comes to the academic content. The building will accommodate activities like pitch training for researchers, networking events, presentations, weekly workshops and much more, he says.

DEPARTMENTS WEIGH IN 

During the month of June, Morten Dahlgaard has held meetings with the university's heads of department to give status updates and invite the various disciplines to provide more input to activities, exhibitions or anything else that can help create an even more exciting environment. According to Morten Dahlgaard, the response has been very positive:

- Meeting with the department heads was a very positive experience. The different disciplines see plenty of opportunities and want to take part, he says.

One of the heads of department is Lars Pico Geerdsen, BUILD. He looks forward to seeing an interdisciplinary space open on campus.

- Architecturally, the departments at AAU today are closed environments, so it will be nice to have an open building where you can go for a walk with a colleague over a cup of coffee and meet colleagues and partners from all over AAU, he says, adding that he aims to drop by the hub daily on his working days in Aalborg, once it opens.

Lars Pico Geerdsen and colleagues will meet an abundance of life when the doors open at the end of the summer. But even though much of the content is already in place, there is still room for ideas and input from the departments. So Morten Dahlgaard concludes with an invitation:

- If you have ideas or input for events, exhibitions or the like, you shouldn’t hesitate to offer suggestions. The more we can expand the interdisciplinary collaboration in and around the building, the better, he concludes.

On 30 May, the contractor MT Højgaard handed the building over to the Danish Building and Property Agency, the developer of the project. At the moment, the building is being checked for defects before it is officially handed over to Aalborg University. The building is expected to start being used on 1 September and the official inauguration is expected to be in early October.

Currently, work is also underway to give the building a new name. The name is expected to be published before the summer holiday.