Georgia Tech to Help Lead New Aerospace Institute

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of six major universities that will team with NASA’s Langley Research Center to create a new institute devoted to aerospace and atmospheric research. The landmark contract was announced by NASA.

The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), as it is called, will work with NASA Langley to develop new technologies for the nation and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The institute will be located near the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

The institute also will offer masters and doctoral degrees in science and engineering locally at its partner universities and via distance learning connections. The partnership could potentially generate combined research grants and contracts that total $379 million over 20 years, according to NASA.

“Establishment of the NIA is the exciting culmination of a three-year effort by NASA’s Langley Research Center,” said Robert Loewy, chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering. “It is a strategic partnership with great potential, linking more closely than ever a strong team of universities dedicated to education and research with the preeminent research capabilities of NASA Langley, and incorporating the proven technology transfer capabilities of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.”

Last year, NASA officials started a national search for university and nonprofit partners to run the institute. The contract was awarded to a consortium of universities and a non-profit corporation that founded the National Institute of Aerospace Associates (NIAA), which was formed specifically to create a science and research organization called the NIA.

In addition to the Georgia Institute of Technology, the NIAA is comprised of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the University of Maryland in College Park, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation in Reston, Va.

The purpose of the NIA will be to:

· conduct leading-edge aerospace and atmospheric research and develop revolutionary new technologies

· provide comprehensive graduate and continuing education in science and engineering

· incubate and stimulate the commercialization of new intellectual property developed through the institute’s activities

· promote aerospace science and engineering and provide outreach to the region and nation

Locating the NIA at the Langley Research Center will facilitate the institute’s involvement in agency-sponsored research programs and foster collaboration with NASA, including access to its world-class research facilities.

The institute is a long-term commitment on the part of NASA to expand collaboration with universities, industry, other government agencies and the broader scientific community to fully leverage expertise inside and outside of government.

Once fully operational, the institute will become a strategic partner working with NASA to enhance its world-class aerospace and atmospheric research capability. The institute will complement Langley’s research creativity and expand research and technology development opportunities. In addition, the NIA will be a significant new research and education asset for the nation.

The NIA creates an even stronger bond between NASA and Georgia Tech. Earlier this year, NASA, through the Glenn Research Center, designated Georgia Tech as one of seven new NASA institutes at universities across the country because of Tech’s considerable expertise in aerospace engineering.

Led by Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering, the primary focus of the NASA institute, called a “University Research, Engineering and Technology Institute” (URETI), is development of new propulsion and power technologies to enable NASA and industry to produce engines that meet highly restrictive environmental regulations, burn less fuel, reduce global warming, improve safety and possess lower acquisition and operating costs.

The URETI also provides support for undergraduate and graduate students, curriculum development, personnel exchange, learning opportunities and training in advanced scientific and engineering concepts for the aerospace workforce in government and industry.