Brock University has officially opened the new Brock LINC — an acronym for Learn, Innovate, Network and Collaborate.
The LINC is aimed at bringing together the academic community with the wider community. A non-exhaustive list of what the “maker space” offers includes video and audio studios, 3D printing, carbon engraving, audio and video equipment rentals, computers fully equipped with various software, a VR station with a variety of uses including gaming and what can be described as a virtual text book where people can literally get inside the subject.
“Brock LINC is about making connections that would otherwise have been unlikely,” said Tim Kenyon, vice-president, research, in a news release. “Its facilities and programs will link creativity with application and researcher expertise with entrepreneurial opportunity.”
The LINC is housed in 3,690 square metres of what was once an open-air pedestrian mall at the base of Schmon Tower.
The $19-million project began in 2016 with grants from the federal and provincial governments as well as private donations, in particular from developer Tom Rankin for whom the Rankin Family Pavilion is named.
According to the media release, the maker space offers a place for people to design and build prototypes, labs digital and virtual research, space for entrepreneurial business ideas and startups and meeting rooms. Through offering a chance to develop ideas and learn skills, Brock is hoping to foster research and development partnerships between the university and Niagara’s businesses and other social organizations.
“The Brock LINC is where innovation, research and entrepreneurship converge at the university,” said executive director Farzana Crocco. “While the resources in each of these areas are numerous at Brock, there has never been a central place to access them or explore how they can work together. The Brock LINC provides that central point of access to navigate what’s available, but will also build programs to connect different parts of the university in new and interesting ways.”
Also celebrated at last week’s grand opening was the completion of DEEP, Brock’s District Energy Efficiency Project.
The project replaces the university’s 25-year-old co-generation engines with state-of-the-art energy-efficient units for electricity, heating and cooling on campus. The upgraded system has cut carbon emission’s from the university by 25 per cent, Nix emissions are down by 85 per cent, the new engines consume 26 per cent less fuel resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility cost savings each year.
The upgrades were completed in two phases with funding from Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment, Brock contributed from its annual allotment of deferred maintenance from the Government of Ontario and the second phase was funded by the province through the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Innovation Grant Fund.