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by LISA METCALF | Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Florida Atlantic University Laboratory Schools received a $2 million grant from The Marcus Foundation, established by Bernie Marcus, to launch the Marcus Research and Innovation Center at the A.D. Henderson University School and FAU High School campus in Boca Raton. This grant will enhance the pipeline of students at Henderson and FAU High as they strive to become talented researchers and innovators who can address the country’s most pressing challenges, while becoming part of a highly skilled workforce to meet the needs of the nation. It also will help to re-engineer education to train future school leaders and educators.

“The science, innovation and research that will occur within the Marcus Research and Innovation Center will expose and engage youth at early ages in these important fields, and could be an educational model for the rest of the country,” said Marcus, chairman of The Marcus Foundation.

The Marcus Research and Innovation Center will provide more than 12,000 square feet of STEM and research space to serve as a training center and incubator for current A.D. Henderson and FAU High students as they prepare to become researchers and innovators of tomorrow. The labs within the center will focus on bioimaging, neuroscience, ocean science and conservation, along with a health care pipeline for teaching, high-performance computing, and rapid prototyping methods. Each of the labs will be equipped with top-tier research instruments not typically found in K-12 settings.

The center will also host visiting scholars and researchers, as well as advance the partnership and research already underway at the Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Regional Hospital and Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. 

“We are grateful to The Marcus Foundation for its strategic investment in our students, educators and community,” said FAU President Stacy Volnick. “This impactful grant will facilitate the development of our students’ passions, expand our research and pioneer the critical discoveries of tomorrow.”

The Marcus Research and Innovation Center will introduce students to research as early as kindergarten. To date, students participating in the lab school’s research program have produced 78 student publications in peer-reviewed journals, six patents, and more than 1,500 citations worldwide. Student research collaborations now include work with Boca Raton Regional Hospital, the Max Planck Society, UF Scripps, Jupiter Medical Center, Wahoo Bay, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, and others. The state-of-the-art Marcus Research and Innovation Center will house and expand the current programs at the FAU Laboratory Schools to grow and inspire exponentially more students in diverse research activities.

In addition, the Marcus Research and Innovation Center also will provide spaces to support the FAU Laboratory Schools’ Stiles-Nicholson STEM Teacher Academy (SNSTA) and The Cane Institute for Advanced Technologies (TCI). The SNSTA bridges high-caliber research settings with middle and high school instructors by developing experiential professional learning opportunities and instruction to inspire innovation and create lasting educational benefits for students nationwide. TCI is a premier, K-12 STEM continuum, and serves as the lab schools’ epicenter for STEM education and technology transfer.

“This generous grant will accelerate the transformational re-engineering of education already in progress at our lab schools,” said Joel Herbst, Ed.D., superintendent of Florida Atlantic Laboratory Schools. “The Marcus Research and Innovation Center will serve as a blueprint for developing researchers and a globally competitive workforce, as well as train the school leaders and educators of tomorrow.”