Two IDRL Projects Receive NSF I-Corp Grants

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019
The Integrated Design Research Lab has received two National Science Foundation grants.

The School of Architecture’s Integrated Design Research Lab (IDRL) has received two National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grants to further research in microalgae facades and adaptable solar windows. Each project will receive $50,000 and specialized team training to develop the commercial potential of the technology.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) created the I-Corps grants to help faculty and students "extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and accelerate the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded, basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization."  Both IDRL projects aim to enable conventional building enclosures to produce on-site renewable energy and to reduce building energy consumption.

The team behind the microalgae façade project includes Associate Professor of Architecture Kyoung Hee Kim, director of the IDRL (principal investigator); Chengde Wu, research associate and lecturer in architecture; and Fan Lu, CEO of the Algaen Corporation. The adaptable solar window team includes Assistant Professor of Architecture Catty Dan Zhang (principal investigator), Ph.D. candidate Ok-Kyun Im, and David Crabtree, Corporate, Commercial, and Civic Practice and Design Leader for Perkins + Will - NC.

Both teams have been named to the Summer 2019 I-Corp cohort in New York City and will participate in a seven-week curriculum, July 9-August 23. Subsequent to the training, the teams will seek additional research grants to support 1:1 prototyping and experimentation in accordance with industry standards.

The IDRL microalgae façade project was recently featured in The Architects Newspaper. Learn more here.