Georgia Tech Strengthens State, Industry Ties with New Research Facility

Officials at the Georgia Institute of Technology broke ground Jan. 23 on a $9.4 million research building where researchers will examine new technologies that make industrial food processing safer and more efficient.

When the first phase of Georgia Tech's Food Processing Technology Research Facility is complete in spring 2004, it will provide the state a unique, world-class research center for collaborative food-processing technology development, academic research and public interaction. It will be built at 640 Strong Street NW in Atlanta.

"Georgia Tech has a long history of working with the state's traditional industries, helping them implement new technologies that help them compete in the marketplace," Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough said. "We see this as a neighborhood improvement project as well as an important project for our state and industries."

More than 40 engineers and scientists associated with the facility will work together to develop exciting breakthroughs in computer vision, robotics, plant ergonomics, biosensors and wearable-computer technology. The research facility also will serve as headquarters for the Food Processing Technology Division, a research unit within the Georgia Tech Research Institute that examines new technological developments for processing food more efficiently.

The state of Georgia and a mix of corporate and industrial donors provide funding for the facility. About 75 people representing agri-business leaders, Georgia Tech researchers plus state and local officials attended a ceremonial groundbreaking for the facility Thursday.

"What is occurring here today is just one of the many key ways that the University System of Georgia and Georgia Tech are involved in economic development in the state," said Daniel S. Papp, senior vice chancellor for academic and fiscal affairs within the University System of Georgia.

"This facility will be an important tool in helping the state of Georgia become a leader in the food processing industry," Papp said. "We must stay focused over the course of the next few months and over the course of the next few years on economic revival."

Rep. Richard Royal, chairman of the Georgia House Ways and Means Committee, praised the new facility as one that will help industries tap into emerging technologies and serve as a catalyst for new technology firms and more food-processing industry to the state.

"This is a great example of a public/private partnership that will be important to the state of Georgia," Royal said. "This construction reflects the growing connection between the state of Georgia and the food processing industry."

When complete, the building will be one of several included in Georgia Tech's new North Avenue Research Area. Its first phase will house 35,000-square feet of laboratory and office space for research and development in the areas of automation technology, information technology and environmental systems.

A 50-seat auditorium and meeting facilities will be included, plus a lower lobby outfitted with interactive computer kiosk systems to entertain and inform school and visitor groups about the growing role of technology in the poultry and food-processing industries.

Phase II, to be built at a later date, will house 10,000-square feet of additional laboratory and office space for human factors, food safety and bioprocessing research.

Georgia Tech's Food Processing Technology Division also houses the Agricultural Technology Research Program, which recently ranked tenth among the top 10 university programs serving the meat and poultry industry, according to an industry survey conducted by Meat and Poultry magazine.

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Georgia Institute of Technology
North Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: 404-894-2000