The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s graduate school innovation hub is relocating on campus, but the building where it’s based will still be a hub for startups and the community, university leaders said.
The Grid, short for Graduate Research Innovation District, will be moving from the Lion Brothers Building in the University of Maryland BioPark to UMB’s Health Sciences and Human Services Library at 601 W. Lombard St., effective Sept. 15, said Faculty Executive Director Dr. Jenny Owens.
— University of Maryland, Baltimore (@UMBaltimore) September 2, 2020
Owens said the move represents the Grid “combining powers with another innovative partner.” The library, which is centrally located on campus near the student center and gym, has an Innovation Space of its own that can provide access to 3D printers and AR/VR tools. It also has plans to house the Center for Data and Bioinformation Services in 2021, and is right across the street from University of Maryland Medical Center. Through a partnership that will also include UM Ventures, the move is also designed to create a central point for education on innovation and entrepreneurship.
“It will really expand our students’ ability to do innovative things when things are right there,” said Owens, who also emphasized that providing resources to make physical products as part of their work would be particularly additive. A trip to the design lab at Philly’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital helped to show how rapid prototyping tools can help students.
“We want students also to understand the structures that make up society and culture, and dig into what’s working,” Owens said. “We hope students will have the mindset that the world is changeable and each of us has a sphere of influence from which we can push for change.”
Since opening in late 2017, the Grid has played host to workshops, pitch events and been a physical home of entrepreneurship-focused graduate programs that are launching at the school. Event attendance has been up 200% recently with organizing from marketing and operations specialist Taylor DeBoer, Owens said. Yet like many programs, programming went virtual with the onset of the pandemic. That’ll remain the case this fall, so the new use of the library space won’t immediately be starting up until in-person activity returns.
As for the Lion Brothers Building, which is located at 875 Hollins St., it will continue to be a hub of startups within the BioPark, with companies still working and multiple university-affiliated business supporting offices like UM Ventures maintaining a presence, said UM BioPark COO Linda Cassard.
Officials still view the building as a place where the larger entrepreneurial community can access business development services to grow their ventures, Cassard said.
And building is continuing on that edge of the BioPark, as well, as UMB is building a new home for its community engagement center down the street.
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