Grad Students Compete for $85,000 in Awards at GTRIC

With another year of record-breaking participation, the Georgia Tech Research and Innovation Conference (GTRIC) will convene 400 graduate students presenting their research to the Tech community at an open event on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

This year, GTRIC will award $85,000 in prizes, including the Georgia Tech Edison Prize — a $15,000 award established in 2010 to foster the formation of start-up companies from research conducted at the Institute. Students work closely with Georgia Tech’s Venture Lab to fine-tune their ideas and presentations prior to the event, and the winner continues that partnership to further develop an enterprise after the competition.

Monetary awards for participants in the Poster Competition portion of the convention this year include $5,000 fellowship awards to the top five poster presentations and $1,500 travel grants to the next 30 best posters. Awards are funded through financial support from individual colleges and the Office of the Provost.

“The fellowship awards are for continued research, and the travel grants are for students to go to conferences and present around the country,” said Lauren Polander, vice president of academic affairs for the Graduate Student Government Association. Polander has been working since last July to coordinate entries and organize the growing event.

“We’re really excited about the event this year, and seeing how it goes and what we will be able to do for next year,” Polander said. She hopes that the move from last year’s venue at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center to the larger space in the Student Center Ballroom will encourage more attendance from the Tech community.

“We’d love for undergrads in particular to see posters and find research they may be interested in, or a group to research with — it’s a great way to get research and projects on campus out to the school,” Polander said.

Ten finalists, pared down from about 100 applicants, will present their research at the Innovation Competition on Monday, Feb. 7. The winner will present at the awards ceremony for the entire event the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Ferst Center for the Arts. Posters from all Innovation Competition finalists will be on display during the poster sessions.

“This is one of my favorite events on campus,” said Melissa Moore, director of communications for Auxiliary Services, who has been involved in the event since its first iteration seven years ago. “It’s such a good way for people in the Georgia Tech community to see some of the fantastic research that’s going on right here. There’s something there for everyone to find interesting.”