Georgia Tech Graduate Research and Innovation Conference Begins Monday

Inaugural conference hopes to build community among students, faculty, and staff

Next week, more than 300 graduate students will present their research at Georgia Tech’s inaugural Research and Innovation Conference (GTRIC) in fellowship as well the hope of claiming a share of more than $50,000 in prize money. On February 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, entrants from each of the six colleges will address a diverse range of topics, from infant feeding to the use of gold nanoparticles in cancer treatments.  

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More than 300 graduate students will present their research at Georgia Tech’s inaugural Research and Innovation Conference (GTRIC) in hopes of claiming a share of more than $50,000 in prize money.

Similar to previous graduate research symposia, “the Georgia Tech Research and Innovation Conference is an opportunity for graduate students from all around campus to come together, present their research and network,” said Linda Harley, president of the Graduate Student Government Association and conference organizer.

One of the goals of the symposium is to emphasize the interconnectivity among the research disciplines on campus. “GTRIC is an interdisciplinary event, which makes it unique and different from any other conference held on campus,” Harley said. "Any graduate student can participate, which allows faculty to see the different types of research occurring on campus.  We hope that it will lead to some collaboration across disciplines.”

Further differentiating the conference from other campus symposiums is the addition of an innovation competition. Eleven students will have three minutes to present their idea to a panel of judges for an opportunity to receive the Georgia Tech Edison Prize, which provides $15,000 in start-up funding to the recipient. While the presentations are closed to the public, the winner will be announced at a reception later that evening. 

Additional awards will be given to some of the students participating in the conference’s poster session. With a record-setting number of entrants, competition will be fierce for 20 travel grants (each valued at $2,000) and three $5,000 fellowships. As the conference's focal point, the poster session is a unique opportunity to see visual representations of an array of research topics while meeting and discussing research with graduate students. Abstracts of each presentation are posted on the GTRIC Web site.  

Faculty members will judge the posters, and interested faculty can still volunteer to judge.  “We need faculty to judge posters,” Harley said.  “It should not take more than an hour and a half to judge 10 posters.  In order for this to be a success, and fair to the students, we need faculty to turn out.”

Inspired to promote Tech’s community of graduate-level researchers, members of the Graduate Student Government Association developed the vision. “[It will] be the primary spring conference at Georgia Tech that allows graduate students, faculty and staff to celebrate the richness of the research and innovation at Georgia Tech, and showcase this to the world,” Harley said. She cited the support of several departments — the Office of the Provost, Georgia Tech’s Research Institute (GTRI), and Auxiliary Services — that helped brought this project to fruition. 

The conference is open to all students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the public.  Undergraduate students may discover a unique benefit in attending the conference. 

“We hope that undergraduates who are considering graduate school will attend the event, to talk to graduate students about their research and also about what it is like to be a graduate student at Georgia Tech,” Harley said.