Georgia Tech Research Corporation 80th Anniversary Awards

researchers at work

Georgia Tech Research Corporation 80th Anniversary Awards

November 21, 2017

A celebration of 80 years of the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) took place Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Historic Academy of Medicine at Georgia Tech.

The celebration was part of a meeting of GTRC's Board of Trustees and recognized innovators who are creating the next, and those who are living out Georgia Tech's motto of progress and service.

Congratulations to the following honorees. Learn more about the history of GTRC below.

Creating the Next Awards

Robert Nerem

Innovation and Impact in Life Sciences and Bioengineering

Robert M. Nerem

Professor Emeritus
George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Over his career, Bob’s work extended from understanding the role of blood flow and the associated shear stress on vascular endothelium, to the influence of cyclic stretch on smooth muscle cell biology, and the tissue engineering of blood vessel substitutes. Bob helped create the field of regenerative medicine, and launch the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.

Ashok Goel

Innovation and Impact in Computer Science and Cognitive Science

Ashok K. Goel

Professor, School of Interactive Computing,
College of Computing

Ashok conducts research into human-centered computing, artificial intelligence and cognitive science, with a focus on computational design, discovery, and creativity. He created Jill Watson, the teaching assistant who taught us that artificial intelligence can help us learn. Jill is also teaching us what the future of human-centered computing will be.

Farrokh Ayazi

Innovation and Impact in Electronics and Nanotechnology

Farrokh Ayazi

Ken Byers Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Farrokh is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Qualtre Inc., a GTRC spin-off that commercializes bulk-acoustic-wave (BAW) silicon gyroscopes and multi-degrees-of-freedom inertial sensors for consumer electronics and personal navigation systems.




Timothy Lieuwen

Innovation and Impact in Energy and Sustainability

Timothy Charles Lieuwen

With an interest in acoustics, fluid mechanics, and combustion, Tim works closely with industry and government, particularly focusing on fundamental problems that arise out of development of clean combustion systems or utilization of alternative fuels. Tim helped create the Energy Policy and Innovation Center which provides an unbiased framework for stimulating energy innovation in the Southeast.

Food processing technology group

Innovation and Impact in Manufacturing, Trade and Logistics

Food Processing Technology Division

Georgia Tech Research Institute

In keeping with GTRI’s roots as the Engineering Experiment Station, the Food Processing Technology Division promotes partnerships with industry, government, and non-profits; transforms breakthrough technologies into products; and spurs economic development throughout Georgia and beyond.

Satish Kumar

Innovation and Impact in Materials Research

Satish Kumar

Professor, School of Materials Science and Engineering

Satish's research is in the areas of high performance materials, bio materials, energy storage, nano materials, functional electronics, optical materials, as well as fibers and composites. He created new techniques for making and using carbon nanotube fibers and composites that have broad potential industrial applications.



Robotics and Autonomous Systems Division, GTRI

Innovation and Impact in National Security Research

Robotics and Autonomous Systems Division

Georgia Tech Research Institute

GTRI's Unmanned and Autonomous Systems group is driving innovation in unmanned systems from basic research to advanced prototypes and systems. These folks looked at yellow jackets and taught their vehicles to swarm all by themselves. These advances in autonomous systems will be integral parts of our national security and defense capability.

Magnus Egerstedt

Innovation and Impact in Robotics

Magnus Egerstedt

Executive Director, Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines; Professor and Julian T. Hightower Chair in Systems and Controls, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Funded by NSF and ONR, the Robotarium created by Magnus allows researchers from around the globe to write their own computer programs, upload them, and then get the results as the Georgia Tech machines in the Robotarium carry out the commands. Truly — robots for everyone.

Ed Reedy

Innovation and Impact in Research and Innovation

Edward K. Reedy

Past Director, Georgia Tech Research Institute

Ed served as director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) from 1998 to 2003, as part of his 33 years of service. During his time at GTRI, he helped create GTARC and enabled GTRI to move to its current cost recovery model which permitted its extraordinary growth and success. Ed also secured the funding for the Food Processing Technology Building, established the Glen P. Robinson Chair in optoelectronics, which was the first endowed chair at GTRI.

Progress and Service Awards


Sustained Impact in Education

Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS)

College of Computing

The OMSCS has already had an impact on the numbers of highly skilled masters-prepared computer science graduates produced in the United States. A Harvard study predicts that this program will add 7 percent to the number of such graduates each year filling a critical workforce need.  In addition it has increased the accessibility of the degree and diversity of the student body in the field.


Sustained Impact in the Arts


Jason Freeman, School of Music, and Brian Magerko, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Since launching in 2013, the free EarSketch software has been used by more than 75,000 students in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 100 countries. From EarSketch, K-12 students learn core computational concepts and the Python and JavaScript programming languages.



giselle bennett and david ku

Sustained Impact in Administration

Gisele Bennett
and David N. Ku

Co-Chairs of the Industry Contracting Task Force

Their task force endorsed a fledgling concept that turned into a new way to think about industry-sponsored research that has become a model for universities across the country. Known as the Contracting Continuum, it helped build Georgia Tech's industry sponsored research to about $100 million a year.


Don McConnell and group

Bridges in GTRC and GTARC Industry Engagement and Collaboration Award

Donald P. McConnell

Vice President, Industry Collaboration

Don is responsible for Georgia Tech's engagement with industry through strategic research collaborations and in the commercial deployment of innovations arising from research. Don’s work in establishing multiple sponsors with strategic research themes makes him the developer in Georgia Tech's research neighborhoods.

Mustaque Ahamad

Made in Georgia Award

Mustaque Ahamad

Professor, College of Computing

From its beginning as the Industrial Development Council, GTRC has worked to develop the economy of Georgia through research and technology transfer. Based on work done in Mustaque’s lab, Pindrop Security, Inc., was launched and now employs about 800 people in Georgia, while Fraudscope, a newer company, also located in Georgia.

William Koros

Rosenberg Award for
Technology Transfer

William J. Koros

Professor, Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Excellence in Chemical Engineering; GRA Eminent Scholar in Membranes; School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Bill's group is a leader in developing advanced materials for membranes, sorbents, and barrier applications. He is one of Georgia Tech’s most prolific inventors and researchers, transferring technology through licensing and industry research.

Caroline Wood, Suzy Briggs, Elizabeth Bryant

Done Deals Award: Strategic Corporate Sponsorship

Caroline G. Wood, Suzy S. Briggs, Elizabeth Bryant

Research relationships between a university and a company have at their core a common problem or interest, a genuine relationship between talented faculty and a committed company interested in working together. Suzy, Elizabeth and Caroline each have several "done deals" that they shepherded and stewarded into strategic relationships for Georgia Tech.

Awards for Service to Researchers

Barbara Henry

Institutional Review Boards

Barbara Henry

Executive Director (retired), Office of Research Integrity Assurance

Barbara retired in early 2017 after more than 26 years of service at Georgia Tech. She now serves as a chair on Georgia Tech’s Central IRB Committee.

Richard Nichols

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

T. Richard Nichols

Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Richard has been an IACUC member and the IACUC chair since 2009.

Andres Garcia

Institutional Biosafety Committee

Andrés J. García

Regents' Professor and Frank H. Neely Chair, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Andres has been a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee and chair since 2007.

William Hunt

Institutional Conflict of Interest Committee

William D. Hunt

Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Bill joined the Conflict of Interest Committee in 2011. He became the chair in 2015.

About the Georgia Tech Research Corporation

The Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) was chartered on April 13, 1937, as the Industrial Development Council, a state-chartered, not-for-profit corporation serving Georgia Tech as a supporting organization of the University System of Georgia.

GTRC serves as the contracting and technology transfer entity for the academic colleges of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Founders Preston S. Arkwright, Fuller E. Callaway, Jr., and Monie E. Ferst stated that the objective of the corporation was to stimulate industrial development; to promote the fullest utilization of natural resources; and to foster research, invention, and discovery so as to provide a constantly improving technique in that behalf. In 1946, the name was changed to the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and in 1984 to the Georgia Tech Research Corporation.

Alongside GTRC and celebrating its own 20th anniversary, the Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation (GTARC) is the contracting organization supporting the work of the Georgia Tech Research Institute.