The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) signifies a major shift in the culture, history, and trajectory of Northeastern University—and reinforces our resolve to meet the challenges of 21st century life. We have the vision to improve and strengthen the health, sustainability, and security of our nation and our world. Our university’s greatest innovators and entrepreneurs are devising solutions to society’s most pressing problems. With our talent and fortitude, we can change the world through the power of our ideas.



United Across Disciplines

Powerful forces are at work to transform science education and research. Globalization and technological advances are disrupting every market sector. Simultaneously, competition for top faculty and students is intensifying worldwide.This means higher education must provide more than technical skills training. It must enable people to thrive in interdisciplinary teams; to manufacture products sustainably; to design systems cost effectively; and to lead research that is “use-inspired”—designed to improve lives. The challenges facing today’s scientists and engineers require collective action. As the focal point of Northeastern’s research enterprise, the ISEC will unite faculty and students across disciplines in creating the materials, products, and technologies our future demands. The guiding principle of the ISEC’s design is enabling the fortuitous collisions, conversations, and collaborations that break down disciplinary divides. Addressing challenges linked to national security, the environment, health systems, drug development, and computer networks, to name but a few, requires a strong, nimble, collaborative network—one that spans academia, government, and industry.

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High Technology Meets Energy Efficiency

energy_efficient_light_bulbChosen from a selective list of top architectural firms, Boston-based Payette is leading the project, using numerous “green design” elements. Payette has won numerous awards for its buildings, and is cited as a national leader in developing energy-efficient healthcare and high-technology science and research facilities.

Northeastern is deeply committed to maintaining its status as a leader in sustainable practices. Since 2007, when the university became a founding member of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Northeastern has won several awards for its green initiatives.*

The ISEC reflects our commitment to sustainability in every way. Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the building includes a central atrium that transfers air from offices to labs for more efficient ventilation and a footprint that optimizes natural light. The ISEC’s facades have also been specially designed to allow for maximum daylight penetration while minimizing associated heat gain. The building will feature energy efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures, and will use a “cascade approach” to recirculate air, significantly reducing energy costs and consumption.

*Northeastern was named “America’s Greenest College” by the 2013 Green Metric Ranking of World Universities. The university was also named to the Princeton Review’s “Green Honor Roll” for earning its highest possible green rating score. The Princeton Review has also listed Northeastern in its “Guide to Green Colleges” from 2009-2014.



in actual energy savings when compared to an ASHRAE baseline building.


reduction in average water use through low-flow fixtures and a rainwater cistern for toilet flushing.


percent of construction waste will be diverted from landfills through recycling, reuse, or donation for use on another site


savings in energy costs when compared to an ASHRAE baseline building.

A Leader in Health, Security, and Sustainability

A strong research program is imperative to build best-in-class doctoral programs, match the strength of other top universities in attracting the most accomplished students and faculty, and to compete effectively on a global scale. The ISEC is a linchpin in Northeastern’s mission to grow as a research university, as laid out in our 10-year master plan.

The ISEC will provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve this planned growth while positioning the university to achieve distinction as a premier research university in three critical domains: health, security, and sustainability. Key points are as follows: 

In 2016, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education named Northeastern one of only 115 universities in the “highest research activity” category. The classification signals the impact of the university’s strategic vision which has elevated Northeastern into a powerhouse on par with the nation’s elite research colleges and universities.

The university is also diversifying its research funding by thoughtfully pursuing increased support from philanthropic and corporate sources, not just government grants.

Consistent with Northeastern’s long range plan, the university will recruit additional tenure-track faculty in addition to the 502 new tenured and tenure-track faculty hired since the 2006-2007 academic year. The ISEC will serve as dynamic hub of investigation, facilitating discoveries in cut­ting-edge fields such as drug discovery, nanotechnology, network and data science, environmental sustainability, and systems medicine.

The ISEC will house the College of Engineering’s newly established Bioengineering Department, which will offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in three areas of concentration: Biocomputing and Information Processing, Systems and Synthetic Biology, and Biodevices.