After years of working in outdated and inadequate facilities, the Science and Engineering Hall provides an unprecedented opportunity for science and engineering faculty to work in a world-class facility.
Yet there are concerns among some faculty members that only a small group of professors will have access to coveted research space in the SEH.
As the University begins its process of doling out research space in the SEH, it is critical that a wide range of faculty – and not just the most renowned – have access to the new building.
Professors who are the most successful researchers certainly deserve research space so they can continue to lead the University’s efforts. Top professors will be able to continue to secure large grants for their projects, in turn raising the research profile of the University. Yet lab space is essential for all professors seeking to engage in research, regardless of whether they have won Nobel Prizes or are embarking on their first projects.
Not every professor will be able to have a piece of the pie. At least at first. There are limits to the amount of space that is available, and tough decisions will have to be made. But the process for determining who will receive research space should be kept flexible.
A professor who is not provided space in the beginning should be able to acquire it later, should they request it for a worthwhile project.
Allocating space should be also based on the quality of the project proposed, not solely on the accolades or grants won by its proposer. Furthermore, professors should be consulted as much as possible throughout the process.
To thrive as a research institution, the University’s research efforts cannot take a top-down approach. It will instead require the collective success of all faculty to establish GW as a nationwide leader in research.