ccr_web.jpgDAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Nova Southeastern University has broken ground on a six-story, state-of-the-art research center that will include an IBM supercomputer nicknamed “Megalodon.”

The $80 million project is the latest is another example of the South Florida private university’s high aspirations in research. Nova has been recognized as a “high research” college by the Carnegie Foundation.

“The university will be in an elite status of research throughout the nation,” university president George Hanbury II told those gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday.

The NSU Center for Collaborative Research will be completed in 2016. The Miami Herald reports the building will house a wide range of scientists, including researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey; the Emil Buehler Research Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics and the Rambaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research.

Appu Rathinavelu, director of the cancer institute, said researchers have already obtained three patents for cancer-fighting drugs. Rathinavelu said in overall healthcare research, the university’s team of scientists has gone from 10 or 20 people to nearly 100 in less than a decade.

The cancer institute has worked out of an off-campus facility at a technology park, which can be difficult for students lacking transportation.

Once the new center is built, “everybody’s going to be working together, interacting, collaborating,” Rathinavelu said. “This building is going to be a catalyst for all of that.”

The Herald reports that the new center’s wet lab space will be among the largest in the country. The technology incubator will provide space for start-up information security companies. And the IBM supercomputer will let researchers analyze the date from experiments at faster speeds.

University officials say the building will create 300 construction-related jobs, and 150 research-related jobs. Thursday’s ceremony comes as NSU celebrates its 50th birthday. It has 26,000 students, making it the nation’s ninth-largest private
not-for-profit university.