Ga. Tech\'s Record Research Serves as Catalyst for Economy
Funding Improves Quality of Life for Georgia
Posted March 10, 2009 | Atlanta, GA
For the first time ever, the Georgia Institute of Technology's research activity has exceeded the $500 million mark, reaching a record $524.9 million in fiscal year 2008. This represents a 10 percent increase over 2007 and an increase of 99 percent over the past decade, helping the Institute consistently rank among the top ten in research programs among universities without medical schools.
"The return on investment from the money that we're bringing back into the state comes in many forms -- from creating jobs and utilizing local goods and services to encouraging industrial and economic development," said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. "More importantly, these efforts help nurture Georgia's strategic economic advantages and strengthen our ability to innovate, laying the groundwork for our state's future prosperity in a global economy."
More than 70 percent of externally funded research comes from outside the state through federal and private funding. While the funds are designated for specific projects and research efforts, they have a significant impact on the state's bottom line, according to Georgia Tech Interim President and Provost Gary Schuster.
Externally funded projects represent a broad spectrum of programs that help create jobs and support the development of new technology in the state. For example, Georgia Tech's VentureLab evaluates more than 300 research invention disclosures a year, all of which are evaluated according to their potential to create jobs in the state. There are currently 63 projects in various stages of evaluation. Twenty-two companies have emerged from the program since it began in 2001, including Suniva, the Southeast's first solar cell manufacturer that has already raised $55 million in venture capital and generated more than $1 billion in orders.
To help meet the state's demand for math and science teachers, this funding also helps support the newly established Tech to Teaching program designed to create pathways for students pursuing K-12 or college teaching careers. Likewise, the Foundations for the Future initiative helps Georgia educators incorporate technology into the classroom.
In addition to supporting education, the well being of Georgians is the focus of early warning tornado systems developed by the Georgia Tech Research Institute's (GTRI) Severe Storms Research Center, while the Georgia Transportation Institute tackles the challenges of improving highway safety and finding solutions to traffic congestion. Georgians have access to a more wholesome and affordable food supply though innovative technologies designed by the Georgia Tech Agricultural Technology Research Program, while more than 14,000 Georgia workers were protected from hazardous conditions as a result of GTRI's workplace safety program, which saved the state's manufacturing sector nearly $2.5 million in penalties and lost work days.
Research and development originating from Georgia Tech also positively impact the health of Georgians, according to Schuster. For example, discoveries from Georgia Tech labs have transformed the monitoring of patients with chronic cardiovascular conditions through tiny, wireless devices, while painless microneedles in patches applied to the skin could soon provide an alternative to delivery of vaccines through hypodermic injections.
"Georgia Tech continues to grow the amount of research funding it brings to the state of Georgia. This underscores the exceptional quality of our faculty and the high caliber of their work," said Schuster. "We take pride in Georgia Tech's role as an internationally prominent research institution and significant role as a positive catalyst in our state's economy.
The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.