Northeastern research complex on track for 2016 opening


Stephen W. Director, Northeastern University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, discusses the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Photo by Steve Daly.

With the opening of Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex two years away, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephen W. Director stressed that success won’t be measured by the completion of the $225 million project but by what happens within its walls.

“The ISEC building is not the catalyst of growth of life sciences,” Director said. “The people are.”

Director on Wednesday provided both an update on the construction timetable and a virtual tour of the state-of-the-art complex, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2016. The facility will use cutting-edge scientific equipment that will be shared by researchers from the Col­lege of Sci­ence, Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences, the Col­lege of Engi­neering and the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence.

“We needed to have state of the art teaching and research facilities specific life sciences and engineering,” said Director, who added that the open concept design will provide a window into the research being conducted.  “We want people to see what’s going on in this building.”

Ground was broken for the facility at the former Columbus Avenue parking lot in February with university and city officials including Northeastern president Joseph E. Aoun, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston City Coun­cilor Tito Jackson and state Rep. Jef­frey Sanchez of Jamaica Plain.

The 220,000-square-foot research and edu­ca­tional space represents the cornerstone of Northeastern’s effort to enhance its interdisciplinary research. ISEC will include wet and dry lab facil­i­ties, edu­ca­tional lab­o­ra­to­ries, class­room space, and offices for fac­ulty and grad­uate students.

The university expects to build partnerships with start-up companies around the greater Boston area as well as with younger students living in the surrounding neighborhoods. Director said that Northeastern expects to double the amount of research it conducts over the next five years while also adding 300 new faculty.

“This building will go a long way toward continuing the university’s incredible momentum.” Director said.


Covering this event provided an opportunity for me to get an insider’s view of the designs of the facility and the excitement surrounding it. ISEC is the university’s first major construction project in decades that wasn’t related to student housing and officials are confident that the complex will provide a bridge to the science and technology sector as well as young, motivated students from the neighborhoods surrounding Northeastern.

By live-tweeting, I felt I was providing significant information about the complex to my followers and others who may have been searching Twitter using the #Northeastern hash tag. In fact, the university’s official Twitter account retweeted one of my posts that included a picture of the provost.

I pass by the work site every day, and though it’s challenging to envision the completed facility, this event gave me an idea of what to expect.

Here is a selection of live tweets from the event on my Twitter feed, including an artist’s rendition of the complex and  a link to an image of the construction site on the College of Science’s Instagram page:


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