Argonne staff now have access to maker space at mHUB
Argonne staff members now enjoy access to a maker space facility thanks to a collaborative effort by programmatic and lab operations staff who helped forge an agreement with Chicago-based innovation center mHUB.
Senior Physicist Marion White (AES) proposed at a Conversations with Kearns event that the laboratory should find a way to give Argonne staff access to a maker space and related tools so they could work on ideas or projects of their own.
In response, Argonne Laboratory Director Paul Kearns asked the Science and Technology Partnerships and Outreach Directorate (S&TPO) to look into this. The Technology Commercialization and Partnerships Division (TCP), which is part of S&TPO, worked with the Legal Department and the Communications and Public Affairs Division (CPA) to develop and distribute an internal survey to explore how broadly this interest is shared amongst researchers. There was sufficient pull indicated in the survey to warrant a trial.
mHUB was identified as a potentially suitable maker space, and from there, Chain Reaction Innovations Director John Carlisle helped facilitate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with mHUB.
mHUB, which opened last year, is dedicated to physical product development and manufacturing.
The MOU provides Argonne staff access to mHUB’s expertise and resources in manufacturing and business modeling, including access to mHUB’s maker space.
The Argonne point of contact for accessing mHUB’s maker space is Adria Wilson (ext. 2-5117), entrepreneurial program lead for Chain Reaction Innovations.
A maker space is a center that provides technology, manufacturing equipment and educational opportunities to a community of people. Maker spaces allow community members to design, prototype and manufacture items using tools that would otherwise be inaccessible or unaffordable (3-D printers, digital fabrication machines, CAD software, metal- and wood-working tools, electronics shop, etc.).
In addition, the partnerships mHUB maintains with companies and organizations throughout the Chicago area and the Midwest will help introduce Argonne researchers to a broader network of potential industrial partners.
mHUB has successfully built relationships with a wide variety of companies. The facility currently has over 1,000 users, and in 2017, mHUB housed more than 800 people from nearly 200 companies.