Obama Taps Georgia Tech President for National Manufacturing Steering Committee

College of Computing Professor Leads National Robotics Roadmap

President Barack Obama today named Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson to the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee. The partnership will bring together industry, universities and the federal government to identify and invest in the key emerging technologies, such as information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology. The national initiative is designed to help U.S. manufacturers improve cost, quality and speed of production in order to remain globally competitive.

Henrik Christen with robot
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Henrik Christensen, a professor in the Georgia Tech College of Computing and director of the Robotics and Intelligent Machines Center, is part of a team of researchers developing new mapping and exploration capabilities for robots. (Photo: Gary Meek)

“We applaud this initiative, and Georgia Tech is honored to collaborate to identify ways to strengthen the manufacturing sector to help create jobs in Georgia and across the United States,” said Peterson, who also serves as a member of the Secretary of Commerce's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The steering committee will guide the efforts of industry leaders, federal agency heads and university presidents, and will partner universities with industry and government agencies to develop new research and education agendas related to advanced manufacturing. 

The president also announced a new National Robotics Initiative as part of the advanced manufacturing and technology focus. Henrik Christensen, KUKA Chair of Robotics for Georgia Tech, serves as an academic and research leader on the National Robotics Initiative.

According to Christensen, this is a critical time for the U.S. While the last 25 years saw tremendous progress due to the Internet, the next game-changing revolution will be robotics.

“Robotics technology addresses a number of our nation’s most critical needs, including reinvigorating the U.S. manufacturing base, protecting our citizens and soldiers, caring for our aging population, preserving our environment, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” Christensen said. “Through the National Robotics Initiative, the United States can regain our leadership position from Europe, Japan and South Korea, both in terms of basic research and in terms of the application of the technology to secure future growth. As home to one of the nation’s top robotics programs, Georgia Tech is an enthusiastic member of this strategic effort.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership will commit to form a multiuniversity, collaborative framework for the sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to the innovation.

Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Andrew Liveries of Dow Chemical are chairing the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee.  In addition to Peterson, other committee members include University of California at Berkley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, Stanford President John Hennessy and Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon.

“Many of our challenges can be solved through innovation and fostering an entrepreneurial environment, as well as collaboration between industry, education and government to create a healthy economic environment and an educated workforce,” Peterson said. “This collaborative effort will facilitate job creation and global competitiveness and is a component of Georgia Tech’s strategic plan.”

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.