Multifunction lab space awarded

Monday, 30 September, 2013


The concept team behind Massey University’s multifunction teaching laboratories were awarded the Best Practice Award for Innovation at the Association for Tertiary Education Management conference, recently held in Australia.

The facility allows each laboratory to be tailored to accommodate a variety of disciplines, which is said to make it unique in Australasia. Laboratory manager Brian Best explained that while “most multidisciplinary facilities have labs dedicated to certain disciplines, like biology, clustered together … here, the disciplines within the lab change on a regular basis”.

This was intended to optimise laboratory teaching space utilisation, Best said, and is made possible through the technician’s preparation space adjacent to the lab. Equipment is set up there prior to the class then rolled into the laboratory when required.

“There are additional benefits to this model. We have technicians from different disciplines collaborating with one another more, and we have optimised the use of equipment,” he said.

Team member Murray Adams said the shared technician space is especially beneficial as “they are able to do all their preparation in the dedicated technical area, which means they are not taking up lab time”.

Fellow team member Heather Murphy says this has led to a very high utilisation rate. “The facility is always full, which is a great improvement on other lab spaces that were not able to be used as much because of the preparation time needed, or their single-use design,” she said.

The lab now plans to include a specimen display in the foyer, including a living wall for live plant specimens.

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