Ireland's President Visits Georgia Tech

Ireland's President Mary McAleese visited with Georgia Tech president Wayne Clough, Georgia Tech Research Institute officials and associates from a business with Georgia Tech roots.

Georgia Tech hosted Ireland President Mary McAleese this morning in an effort to strengthen the university ties to Ireland. President Mary McAleese visited with Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough, Georgia Tech Research Institute officials and business associates from a company with roots at Georgia Tech.

"Georgia Tech is honored that President Mary McAleese visited our campus today," said Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough. "Her visit is another step in the growing relationship between Ireland and Georgia Tech. Only last year, through an agreement with the Irish government, we announced the creation of Georgia Tech Ireland, an innovative initiative in which the Georgia Tech Research Institute is working with Irish industry and the research universities of Ireland to enhance commercialization of research. This relationship is already opening doors of economic opportunity between Georgia and Ireland."

Georgia Tech Ireland, located in Athlone, Ireland, focuses on industry research and development needs. Over the next five years, the Irish operation plans to build up a portfolio of research programs and collaborations with industry valued in excess of $24 million, and at full operation, it will employ 50 highly qualified researchers.

"The relationships are just as important as the technology, if not more so," said David Parekh, executive director, Georgia Tech Ireland. "I am convinced that this initiative will be a tremendous success because of the strong commitment and genuine collegiality among all the participants."

The institute works closely with Irish corporations and universities, the Georgia Tech research community and U.S. companies to provide companies on both sides of the Atlantic with industry-focused research and development that bridge the gap between academic discovery and commercial success.

"During President McAleese's visit, we had the opportunity to highlight the broad range of interdisciplinary research at Georgia Tech and the major achievements of the university's programs in commercialization and applied research," said Parekh. "It was clear throughout our discussions how this collaboration for innovation would bring tremendous value to both Georgia and Ireland."

GTRI, which conducts nearly $140 million in research and development each year for industry, government and academic institutions across the world, receives support from IDA Ireland, the Irish Government's economic development agency. The new institute focuses on four technology areas that mirror Ireland's research strengths digital media, radio frequency identification (RFID), biotechnology and energy.

The institute's digital media research includes development of a national test bed for Internet protocol television (IPTV), a fully interactive digital television service offered to subscribers via an Internet-based broadband connection. By bringing together designers and users, the institute is exploring the potential applications of this emerging technology.

The research with RFID centers on authentication and identification technologies from acoustics to optics for the commercial sector. For instance, because Ireland has a thriving pharmaceutical industry, some of the institute's research targets pill-tracking accuracy, ensuring authenticity and dosage.

The institute's biotechnology research focuses primarily on medical devices for preventive and predictive medicine and manufacturing of medical devices. The institute's energy and environmental research focus is on enabling technologies and systems models for sustainable energy alternatives, a research area of critical importance to both the United States and Ireland.

GT Ireland's Athlone location leaves it well situated for collaborative research with a broad range of companies and universities throughout the country. Athlone is between Dublin on the east coast and Galway on the west coast. Cork, home of the renowned Tyndall Institute, is on the southern coast. Elan Pharmaceutical and Ericsson are both headquartered in Athlone, and other major corporations have plans to come to the region.

GTRI, established since 1934, has an international standing for its excellence in many areas of science and technology. It employs 1,300 people, including 600 full-time engineers and scientists, of which 73 percent hold advanced degrees.