Words from Founding Director, Bill Sherman

OpenGrounds is creating new networks to connect faculty, students and diverse external partners.  The goal is to inspire those who take risks at the frontiers of their fields and collaborate across boundaries to make a real impact in the world. It will be a catalyst for outward facing, forward-looking research and curricular initiatives that will redefine the public research university for a new millennium.  OpenGrounds will foster the development of collaborative thought leaders at the University of Virginia, to inspire innovative research and enhance the education of undergraduate students.

OpenGrounds is starting a series of university-wide challenges that address complex social and technological issues, advancing knowledge through dynamic, multi-faceted teams. The programs and the convening spaces will engage regular visitors from public, corporate and scholarly communities for both short-term collaborations and extended partnerships. Places for these exchanges and ongoing activities will include research and learning laboratories, prototyping studios, as well as convening and exhibition spaces.  These spaces will be open and accessible as part of the daily life of the university, with links beyond the university grounds to engage in external partnerships.

The goals are ambitious:

  • Develop the creative and collaborative culture within and beyond the University
  • Provide access to a collaborative experience to enhance education for every UVA student
  • Inspire distinctive, innovative research that has the potential for transformational economic or social impact

The University of Virginia is uniquely poised to be a leader in a new paradigm for the twenty-first century research university. OpenGrounds will link scholars, artists and scientists in a network of shared ideas, setting the table for conversations that transcend disciplinary boundaries and traditional academic structures.  This fertile ecosystem of internal and external partners will generate world-changing ideas.


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