Education and Business Technology Funding 2017

IT Governance Request for Proposals on Teaching & Learning and Business Technology

Cultivating a Community of Makers at UCSF in Partnership with the Library

Proposal Status: 

Cultivating a Community of Makers at UCSF in Partnership with the Library

1. Overview and Benefits

The Makers Lab has positioned itself to be at the center of learning, inspiration, and exploration at UCSF in the ten months since opening. The Makers Lab has been well received by the UCSF community, especially by students, who have limited options for pursuing creative projects on campus where they can tinker, play, innovate, and build community. Faculty and course staff have also shown an increasing interest in using the Makers lab to support curriculum, either for discrete projects or for small group activities associated with coursework. We use maker and maker movement as umbrella terms for independent inventors, designers, and tinkerers1.

We are requesting $82,500 from the IT Governance for Teaching & Learning and Business Technology to fund the purchase of additional equipment for the Makers Lab over a three-year period (e.g. 3D printers, 3D scanners, programmable electronics, emerging technologies, etc.). The equipment will be used to support projects in the Makers Lab and to develop a Mobile Makers Lab service designed to bring innovation to classrooms and other locations across UCSF campuses. The proposal meets strategic, operational, and financial criteria as detailed below.

The Library is interested in expanding the mission of the Makers Lab beyond the Library and continuing to establish the space as a hub for the maker movement, emerging technologies, and design thinking at UCSF. We have seen UCSF community members working in Makers Lab on everything from low-tech, maker activities to innovative, curricular-related projects. It is the innovative, high-tech projects that we are requesting funding for through this proposal, as the equipment required is cost prohibitive for the Library to purchase.

2. Positions UCSF as a Leader & Innovator in Education

Makers are encouraged to take a design thinking approach to their projects while working in the Makers Lab. The design thinking process adds a fluid dimension to the exploration of complexity, allowing for nonlinear thought when tackling nonlinear problems2, like those faced in clinical practice and research. Educators strive for this level of knowledge and the University has the opportunity to expose students to technology that will support forward-thinking solutions in their health science education and career.

The process of designing and manufacturing 3D printed learning tools can be a valuable learning activity in itself for students. Neonatal nursing students are already working with their faculty in the Makers Lab to design and 3D print clinical skills training tools that augment advanced nursing training. A study from the University of Toronto found that 3D print models allow instantaneous understanding of any complex anatomy and simulation or hands-on training of surgical and interventional procedures3. We envision students and faculty continuing to collaborate across multiple disciplines to manufacture learning tools not available through traditional vendors.

With better access to the technology needed to manufacture these learning tools, often otherwise unavailable, faculty will be better equipped to develop innovative assignments, as well as contribute to a growing repository of learning tools; all designed and manufactured at UCSF.

A common problem with 3D printing is only one person can print at a time, and prints can take a substantial amount of time (we have seen print requests up to 50 hours). As of February 1, 2017, the Makers Lab has been open for a total of 636 hours. During this time, there have been 484 hourly reservations for the two 3D printers in the Makers Lab, which does not account for a large number of drop-ins who have gone on to use a 3D printer without a reservation. Purchasing additional, more sophisticated 3D printers will allow the Library to accommodate more prints, be better positioned to explore and support new 3D printing technology as it comes to market, and continue to foster innovation both inside and outside of the classroom.

We face the same limitations with other technology used in the Makers Lab, such as 3D scanning, programmable electronics, and virtual reality headsets. Obtaining additional funding to expand the inventory of equipment will help extend the mission of the Makers Lab and allow the Library to support other collaborative endeavors beyond the confines of the Parnassus campus.

The proposed funding will help spark innovation throughout the maker community on campus, as well extend the limits of what is possible. For example, the Makers Lab recently purchased a Form 2 Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer. Unlike the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printers we currently have, SLA printers can print overnight at a resolution unmatched by FDM printers. We can now support prints in excess of 13 hours and can print at resolution of .25 microns. The Makers Lab is eager to support new materials used for 3D printing, and improve on our own knowledge and understanding of what is possible with the technology.

3. Addressing an Operational Need by Bringing Innovation to the Classroom

The Makers Lab has seen over 1100 visits (new and returning) since opening in April 2016. As the number of makers using the space increases, we have identified limitations related to the physical size and location of the Makers Lab. This presents a challenge when working with class sizes over 100 students using the space for assignments or personal projects. Currently we are accommodating 150 students from the Clinical Pharmacy 137 Advanced Topics in Clinical Care course by running 10-12 small group activities throughout the Winter 2017 quarter. By purchasing additional equipment that can be used in both the Makers Lab and the UCSF classroom, the Library will be better positioned to support assignments that encourage the iterative nature of the design process, where it’s rare to get things right the first time2.

The Makers Lab has been fortunate to occupy 296 square feet of space in the Library, but the space can fill up quickly and can only accommodate a limited number of makers at any given time (roughly ten). We propose developing a Mobile Makers Lab service to supplement the Makers Lab, by purchasing an instructional cart that includes a 3D printer and other supporting technologies that can be checked out and used remotely, just like the Library would check out a journal or book. We intend to use a portion of the funding to purchase and assemble one Mobile Makers Lab Cart that will be piloted with faculty and researchers during the first year for curricular-related activities. In the subsequent two years, the Library will rely heavily on feedback from patrons to purchase and assemble two additional Mobile Makers Lab Carts. User training for mobile users in safe, effective and secure use of these materials will be supported by development of user manuals and in-person training.

The technology no longer needs to be bound to the Library and we imagine carts being loaned out and used in lecture halls, small classrooms, and labs across UCSF. The opportunity to bring the technology to the classroom and remove the current spatial limitations of our location in the Library will better position the University to support innovative assignments and activities in the health sciences. A single Mobile Makers Lab Cart will include the following equipment (cost estimates included):

  • 3D printer ($5K)
  • 3D scanner ($2K)
  • Programmable electronics such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits ($2K)
  • Computer/tablet and monitor ($2K)
  • Other emerging technologies based on an identified need (e.g. virtual reality kits) ($5K)
  • Instructional cart ($1K)

Remaining funds will be used to purchase additional equipment for the Makers Lab to accommodate a greater number of patrons and projects. Maintenance funds are designated for replacement parts and repairing damaged equipment.

A Mobile Makers Lab Cart can also be deployed for an extended period of time to create a Pop-Up Makers Lab service at Mission Bay, the Kanbar Center, and other locations beyond the Parnassus campus. By removing barriers to the Makers Lab, educators can bring 3D printing and emerging technology to their classrooms, research, and practice, or ideally all three.

4. Financial Savings for Simulation Activities

Partial task trainers used for simulation activities in the Kanbar Center are expensive. Why not 3D print partial task trainers when possible, saving the university money and time? Simulation centers around the world are discovering a new wave of highly realistic training models that can be developed based off of specific patient anatomy when needed4. Acquiring additional 3D printers and equipment in the Makers Lab can benefit the Kanbar Center through improved access to the technology and the ability to 3D print on-demand.

Both the Kanbar Center and Makers Lab are unique, as they do not serve a single professional school. We imagine this partnership will lead to innovative simulation activities, as well as cost saving opportunities that can be replicated across all four professional schools. One cost-savings example is the pediatric fibula and tibia partial task trainer used in the School of Medicine. This partial task trainer costs between $30-$98 to purchase through a vendor, wears out after ten uses, and then must be replaced. A similar model can accomplish the same learning objective and cost less than $5 to manufacture right here at UCSF5. Another example is the chest tube partial task trainer also used in the Kanbar Center. This task trainer costs roughly $112 through a vendor, wears out after six to ten uses, and then must be replaced. A similar model can accomplish the same learning objective and cost less than $20 to produce on-site. The neonatal project currently underway through the School of Nursing may ultimately provide unique learning experiences or prototype tools for premature infant simulators that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive or may not yet exist6.

5. Compliance

This service is not required for compliance with federal or state regulations, or UCOP requirements.

Accrediting bodies, such as WASC state that institutions provide access to information and technology resources sufficient in scope, quality, currency, and kind at physical sites and online, as appropriate, to support its academic offerings and the research and scholarship of its faculty, staff, and students7. The service provided by the Makers Lab is in compliance with this WASC standard and promotes the achievement of institutional purposes, educational objectives, and creates a high-quality environment for learning and discovery.

6. Source and Amount of Matching Funds

The Library committed $60,000 in seed funding to launch the Makers Lab. In addition the Library is covering costs for 1.5 FTE to manage and staff the Makers Lab and for low-tech supplies and materials used for maker activities and events.

7. Source and Amount for Ongoing Operations and Maintenance

As mentioned above, the Library will cover the personnel costs necessary to manage the training, support, and maintenance of Makers Lab equipment. This includes maintaining the technology, computers, and software required to power a Mobile Makers Lab Cart, as well as providing training for faculty, staff, and students. Purchases related to repairing or enhancing the technology will be funded by this proposal. The technology and carts will be stored in the Makers Lab and secure locations in the Library when not checked out. The Library will manage reservations using software already licensed for similar services.

The Library will maintain an inventory of standard 3D printing materials and will work with the schools and departments to purchase specialized materials needed for 3D printing assignments. The Library is also pursing additional funding through grants and donations to support these specialized, high-end 3D printing projects and to cover other unanticipated expenses.

Based on the positive feedback we have already received from the UCSF community about the Makers Lab and the on-going research on the role of the maker movement in health science education, we are excited to extend the mission, vision, and values of the Makers Lab beyond the Parnassus Library, and into the UCSF classroom.

Learn more about the UCSF Makers Lab at

8. Attach Financial Estimate Document

See attached Financial Estimate spreadsheet.


  1. Baruch JM. Doctors as Makers. Academic Medicine. 2017;92(1):40-44. doi:10.1097/acm.0000000000001312.
  2. Kolko J. Design Thinking Comes of Age. Harvard Business Review. Published October 14, 2015. Accessed January 14, 2017.
  3. 3D Printing in Medicine of Congenital Heart Diseases. 3D Printing in Medicine. Published September 13, 2016. Accessed January 31, 2017.
  4. Escobar D. Changing Medical Simulation with 3D Printing. 3DADVANTAGE. Published April 22, 2016. Accessed January 15, 2017.
  5. Cayabyab W. Kanbar Simulation Center Conversation. January 2017.
  6. Carley A. UCSF School of Nursing Conversation. January 2017.
  7. WASC Senior College and University Commission. Standard 3: Developing and applying resources and organizational structures to ensure quality and sustainability. WASC. Accessed February 2, 2017.
  8. Bassendowski S. 3D printing: Potential and Possibilities. 2013. Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics; 8(1). Accessed February 2, 2017.
  9. Biglino G., et al. Use of 3D models of congenital heart disease as an education tool for cardiac nurses. Congenital Heart Disease. 2016, September 26. Doi: 10.1111/chd/12414.







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Dylan, thank you for conceiving of this proposal. There are a number of positives of this work and it is exciting to see the interest in the Maker's lab on campus.

Positioning UCSF as an innovator. What better way to leverage experiential learning than to create opportunities for learner or faculty design thinking?  The original maker’s lab idea that supports students independent inquiry and creativity, as well as the extended use of 3D printing capability have potential for supporting really exciting learning.

It may fulfill an operational need by allowing curricula/programs to become more versatile and mobile, and bring the learning to the learner rather than the other way around. This has relevance for learners/faculty situated at multiple areas of the UCSF campus, who may be limited by restricting access to the Parnassus library location alone.

There may also be a positive financial impact. Creation of models and consumables efficiently and at less cost has high relevance to campus units such as the Kanbar simulation center, and programs that rely on this teaching strategy.  As has already been demonstrated, in some cases there is not an available consumable or model, and this technology allows for prototyping to create teaching elements that can be very impactful.


Thank you for your comments Annette, we look forward to working with you to support inquiry and creativity in the School of Nursing, and in all areas of the UCSF community!

I echo what Annette Carley says above. Having a mobile version of the Maker's Lab would be fantastic; I can envision faculty extending a class group to include making a body part for a demo, or brainstorming ways to increase the hands on making of medical implements, parts, devices, etc. as Dylan points out. This collaborative sharing of maker outreach and innovation is very worth the support and promotion it should receive. 

The 2017 Horizon Report, a respect annual forcast of important technologies influencing education wrote;

The emergence of Makerspaces in university libraries is bringing together students an researchers across a range of disciplines to showcase what they have learned through creating and 3D-printing models.  More institutions are formally recognizing these kinds of efforts and are even developing platforms for the dissemination of multidisciplinary work.

At Rutgers University, the new Aresty Research Symposium calls for students to present on their multidisciplinary work using multimedia and visualizations. At the inaugural April 2014 event, 530 Rutgers students shared their research, including the project “Communication Matters: The Signicance of Patient-Physician Communication About Exercise for Older Breast Cancer Survivors,” which identifed the need for physicians to more explicitly recommend exercise to patients post-treatment to boost recovery rates.102

Key to promoting multidisciplinary research is demonstrating how various disciplines can work together to illuminate new information. For example, scholars are exploring scientifc strategies that can condense vast amounts of literature into patterns that can reveal new relationships and concepts. Franco Moretti from the Stanford Literacy Lab published a theory called Distant Reading, which posits that people can comprehend literary texts by aggregating and analyzing large datasets about them. The Lab tested this idea by inputting 30 novels into computer programs that analyzed grammatical and semantic signals, along with word frequency. This work uncovered hidden aspects of plots by graphing them as networks, which has opened new doors to rethinking the study of literature and how libraries can play a role in the interpretation of the vast amounts of text they house digitally.

I believe this Maker's space in the UCSF Library fills a crucial need to bring people together to explore innovations for research, teaching and ciincal care.  We need more spaces like this that are open to all, staffed with expert technologists and instructional deisgners with the sole purpose to guide the UCSF community.  

Technology innovations in health and education are moving quickly and many of them involve bringing the digital and phyiscal realms together into products that you can create and use for unique purposes.   The Maker's Lab brings this to UCSF community and will allow us to stay at the forefront of reseach and education.  In the School of Medicine, we are starting to work with the Makers Lab to enhance the School of Medicine curriculum and plan to work together more.


Thank you Christian - I agree spaces like the Makers Lab provide a way for educators to keep up with the fast-pace of technology, and also brings community members together from different roles and disciplines to rapidly discover applications through collaboration and conversation. I have seen this happen in the Makers Lab, where an innovative use of the equipment/technology is discovered and a number of opportunities are quickly identified for any number of the professional schools and research community.

Very interesting work and fun to participate in! Looking forward to collaborating more in the near future.

While not explicitly engrained in the curricula of the schools, the fairly new Maker's Space serves an important role for learners.  First, provider wellness is part of the quadruple aim, and the National Academy of Medicine recently published a paper addressing the need for a multifaced approach to provider wellness.  We know that offering a creative space can contribute to this.  Secondly, UCSF is innovating in multiple areas: innovation funds for clinical practice and education, constantly innovating in research, and the library is a central hub for forward movement on our campus with the Kanbar Center and WalkStations. There is a desire right now to create a culture of entrepreneurship in the UCSF community.  I believe that these all align with this request for the Maker's Space desire to purchase more technologies for the campus community to use.  It would be nice to get some "tinkering" actually embedded in some of the schools' curricula.

Thank you for your comments and we have definitely seen a culture of entrepreneurship from the UCSF community in a brief amount of time. We are very excited to see how increased exposure to the technology and maker-related activities can bring people together from various roles and across multiple disciplines at UCSF to identify new solutions to old problems.

Thank you again and stop by the Makers Lab soon, we have some ideas for "tinkering" projects!

Below is user profile data for the Makers Lab that may be helpful:

As of February 1, 2017, the Makers Lab has held over 40 pop-up events and 10 team-building sessions. Of the 1100 visits (new and returning) since opening in April 2016, 33% are staff, 25% are professional students, 19% are graduate students, 17% are researchers, and 6% are faculty.

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