Ohio State University: Beam-topping ceremony highlights new opportunities for Ohio State research facility

A ceremony today helped mark a construction milestone for The Ohio State University’s Interdisciplinary Research Facility.

The final steel beam for the facility, wrapped in logos of the university, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Pelotonia, was raised to top off the building. Hundreds of university students, faculty and staff left signatures across the beam that are now a permanent part of the new building.

The Interdisciplinary Research Facility (IRF), a five-story laboratory building west of Kenny Road and south of Lane Avenue, is part of the university’s booming Innovation District.

“The IRF is really setting the stage for a different way of doing research, and that’s going to position Ohio State to be a leader not just in Ohio, but in the country,” said President Kristina M. Johnson. “We’re bringing together not engineers in one lab and physicists and artists on the other side of campus. We’re actually bringing them together under one roof so they can tackle society’s major challenges together.”

The project supports multiple research disciplines, including biomedical, life sciences, engineering and environmental sciences, among others. In addition, two floors will be dedicated to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, including its new Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology.

“This interdisciplinary research facility is the anchor to the first phase of our Innovation District and will house over 300,000 square feet of new collaborative research space,” said Grace Wang, executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge.

Johnson and Wang were joined at the ceremony by Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and JobsOhio President and CEO JP Nauseef. The Innovation District is receiving investment funding from JobsOhio and infrastructure support from the city of Columbus. While celebrating the construction progress for the IRF, DeWine highlighted how the research developed in the new building will boost the state.

“We are really eager to see this laboratory completed because it will be the heart of this district. It will house brilliant researchers, brilliant scientists. They will create, they will develop, they’ll share with the whole world their ideas related to medicine, to science and to engineering,” DeWine said. “The district itself will be a hub. It will be a hub for innovation and growth in Ohio, expanding science, technology, engineering, math and educational opportunities and positioning Ohio to compete nationally for growing tech and health care employers.”

The district will include an Energy Advancement and Innovation Center, where Ohio State faculty members, students, alumni, ENGIE researchers, local entrepreneurs and industry experts will work together on the next generation of smart energy systems, renewable energy and green mobility solutions. The university and Nationwide Children’s Hospital are also partnering on an Innovation District-based outpatient care facility that includes central Ohio’s first proton therapy treatment space.

“The IRF and Innovation District are going to transform the way we discover, innovate and learn. We are thrilled that our community and state partners will share in this journey together,” Johnson said.