UC’s Digital Futures Building is a beacon for research across multiple disciplines.
Next Is Here
In 2021, president Neville Pinto inscribed a message on the last steel beam that would top the new Digital Futures Building. He proudly wrote, “Next Is Here!” Today, the dream is realized — to build a singular place to attract talent, drive innovation and focus on solving problems in the digital economy.
Alongside Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Chancellor Gardner, Mayor Pureval, and its partners from across Ohio, the University of Cincinnati has officially opened the doors of the Digital Futures Complex within the Cincinnati Innovation District.
Located at the city’s I-71’s MLK interchange, the $200-million development expands the Cincinnati Innovation District, an ecosystem that’s accelerating solutions for industry in the digital economy. With the CID’s nerve center at the 1819 Innovation Hub across the street, the Digital Futures Complex is an expansion of what is already built and working.
Research To Solve Problems That Matter
The Digital Futures Complex will provide a dynamic space dedicated to fostering creative collaborations. UC’s Digital Futures Building, the inaugural building, is a six-story, 189,000-square foot high-rise, home to more than 20 UC multi-disciplinary research labs and facilities that are truly unique to the region. Experts will test drones in the high-bay space. They’ll use artificial intelligence to improve people’s lives. They’ll research virtual and augmented reality to enhance training programs. They’ll delve into cryptocurrency’s market impacts and study human performance to improve athletic training and rehabilitation.
“This will be a place for top UC researchers in their fields to come together to solve problems that matter,” said Patrick Limbach, UC’s vice president for research and Ohio Eminent Scholar.
Kelly Cohen, PhD director of the AI Bio Lab, is thrilled to be one of the inaugural researchers embedded in Digital Futures. “The infrastructure here is exemplary and will enable us to develop trustworthy and responsible AI. By utilizing a multi-disciplinary team that incorporates IOT, drones, human factors, and industrial design, we can advance real-world applications from transportation (ground, air, and space) to personalized medicine.”
“President Pinto’s vision for the Cincinnati Innovation District is only getting sharper and stronger,” says Dr. Ryan Hays, the university’s executive vice president and chief innovation and strategy officer. “In reaching this milestone, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Dr. Limbach and his team for mobilizing a world-class team of researchers who bridge the traditional divides between industry and academia.”
Live, Work, Play & Learn
Next door will be the 180,000-square-foot Digital Futures II building, which will provide close proximity for companies to connect with the interdisciplinary research in Digital Futures I while also gaining direct support from the CID for talent needs. As the complex grows, additional office space, a hotel, residential living, and retail will be added. A place to live, work, play and learn.
“The Digital Futures development is catalytic to the area,” said Pete Horton, a partner with Terrex. “This site has really become a cornerstone project for the City of Cincinnati, and it’s because the CID offers a unique platform for companies of all stages to connect to talent and build partnerships to accelerate innovation.”
The Power of Place
Every business faces digital transformation. With the opening of the complex, companies will have a place to solve challenges and gain first access to the talent they need. With so many companies embedded in the CID — from P&G, Kroger, and KAO to CincyTech, altafiber, and Fifth Third — the at-capacity 1819 Innovation Hub looks to the Digital Futures Complex to build on what Dr. Pinto envisioned.
Indeed, “Next” is most definitely here.
Original article posted on September 23, 2022 by the Cincinnati Business Courier.