University of Oregon opens $65 million interdisciplinary science building

EUGENE, Ore. — (Nov. 8, 2012)The University of Oregon has opened a $65 million, state-of-the-art science facility that brings world-class researchers together under one roof from a range of different disciplines. The Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building is home to biologists, chemists, psychologists and other researchers addressing the fundamental issues of society — from cellular processes to improving communities.

“The opening of the Lewis Building marks the beginning of a new era of research excellence at the University of Oregon,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation, and dean of the graduate school. “As scientists reach deeper into specialized fields of study, it’s more important than ever that we remain aware of how research fits into the larger picture. This building allows scientists to focus on their individual areas of specialty, with an eye toward the work of other researchers. It encourages connections to be made and brings strategic clusters of researchers together to solve the grand societal challenges of tomorrow, today.”

Part of the UO’s Lorry I. Lokey Science Complex, the 103,000-square-foot Lewis Integrative Science Building literally unites the sciences by connecting adjacent science and research facilities. Students will have unprecedented access to interdisciplinary labs and high-tech tools and equipment. The facility houses:

  • A 3T whole-body MRI that will be used by researchers in cognitive psychology, human physiology and other disciplines.
  • The Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, the focal point for the UO’s pioneering green chemistry programs.
  • A photovoltaic laboratory that is part of CAMCOR, a shared instrumentation facility open to industrial and academic clients.

“This facility increases the state’s capacity to attract research grants and generate economic benefits that serve Oregonians,” said Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber in a statement. “I’m proud of the University of Oregon’s track record of turning research into jobs.”

UO had $120 million in annual sponsored research dollars last year. University research innovations generated nearly $7.9 million in licensing revenue in 2011-2012.

The term “integrative science,” refers to the creation of synergies across diverse academic disciplines, which is a key goal in the Lewis Building. Ranging from curiosity-driven basic research to commercialization of new technologies, the approach aims to create new knowledge and new partnerships between academic research and private industry, government agencies and the larger community

“The University of Oregon is one of the few places where this kind of mixing of different disciplines could happen,” said Dave Johnson, the Rosaria P. Haugland Foundation Chair in Pure and Applied Chemistry. “Because of the culture that exists on this campus, there is a great opportunity to innovate here and I think the synergies that result are going to surprise people.”

The ambitious goals of the Lewis Building are reflected in its forward-thinking design. The building makes abundant use of natural light and the open layout of the labs and spaces feeds the notion that science should be a collaborative process. A glass atrium with stadium seating provides a place for faculty and students to congregate, and glass walls and doors put scientific instruments on display — a three-story whiteboard invites participation and encourages open thinking and cross-pollination.

The Lewis Building was funded partly through private donations. Donors included Robert and Beverly Lewis and Lorry I. Lokey, along with William Swindells, the James R. Kuse Family Foundation and Rosaria Haugland.

The Lewis building was also financed with federal and state grants and state bonds, including $30 million in Article XI-G bonds — the largest G-bond investment in academic buildings in UO’s history. 


About the Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building

The Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building is home to strategic research clusters centered around interdisciplinary and integrative research missions that are not defined by departmental boundaries. Part of the University of Oregon’s Lorry I. Lokey Science Complex, the building brings researchers together from across the spectrum to tackle society’s grand challenges, from cellular processes to improving communities. For more information, go to

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact:

Lewis Taylor, associate director of PR and strategic communications, 541-346-2816