Millennium Science Complex

Home to the converging frontiers of engineering, materials research, and the life sciences at Penn State

The Millennium Science Complex is a state-of-the-art, 275,000-square-foot facility housing two of the University’s premier research organizations – the Materials Research Institute and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. The $225 million building opened its doors in 2012, the culmination of a multi-year process that identified interdisciplinary research as a potentially important area for scientific breakthroughs.

More than just a collection of laboratories and instruments, the Millennium Science Complex represents a new style of research in which experts from many disciplines coordinate their technologies and knowledge in ways that produce exponential advances.

By providing the research space and the opportunity for intellectual exchanges, both formal and informal, the Millennium Science Complex generates significant returns on the university’s investment in the institutes and in this new infrastructure.

Designed by internationally renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, the Millennium Science Complex is one of a small handful of buildings specifically constructed to support the integration of the physical and life sciences.

Interdisciplinary approach 

Shared meeting and common areas are designed to encourage discussion and the free exchange of ideas.

Instruments for the nano- and micro-scale characterization of organic and inorganic materials are co-located in an underground, vibration-free quiet space that protects experiments from outside sound, electromagnetic interference, temperature variations, humidity, and foreign contaminants. In the shared labs and computational centers located on the above-ground levels, materials researchers, engineers and life scientists collaborate in solving problems of complex size and scale by bringing elements together from across their respective fields in novel interdisciplinary approaches.

The next great field of transformative research lies at the boundaries of the life sciences and physical science and engineering, and the state-of-the-art multidisciplinary facilities within the Millennium Science Complex represent a vision of advancing the convergence of these fields by facilitating a culture of collaboration that contributes to revolutionary advances in human health and well-being.

Industrial relations 

The Millennium Science Complex's user facilities are open to industry researchers, and technical staff are available to offer advice, assistance, and training.

In addition to providing hands-on training to the next generation of scientists, the Millennium Science Complex is designed to support industry and provide economic and technological benefits to the commonwealth and nation.


Undergraduate and graduate education is central to the mission of both the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences and the Materials Research Institute.

The Millennium Science Complex is designed to be a vibrant facility for hands-on student learning in an interdisciplinary laboratory setting, and is a place for students and faculty from across campus to share laboratories, state-of-the-art instrumentation, and an atmosphere of collaboration. Seven separate graduate or doctoral programs are offered through the constituent institutions housed in the Millennium Science Complex.