Posted June 21, 2006 ATLANTA
Communications & Marketing
Contact Lisa Grovenstein
The new institute, with research and collaborations valued at $24 million, will focus on IPTV, RFID, medical devices and sustainable energy
The Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the applied research arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology, have expanded Georgia Tech's global reach with the opening of a research institute in Athlone, Ireland. The new institute will focus on four technology areas that mirror Ireland and Georgia Tech's research strengths - digital media, radio frequency identification (RFID), biotechnology and energy.
Georgia Tech Ireland (GT Ireland) will be GTRI's first applied research facility outside the United States. Over the next five years, the Irish operation plans to build up a portfolio of research programs and collaborations with industry valued in excess of $24 million, and at full operation, it expects to employ 50 highly qualified researchers.
GTRI, which conducts more than $140 million in research and development annually for industry, government and academic institutions across the world, is launching this new enterprise with support from IDA Ireland, the agency responsible for industrial development and overseas investment in Ireland.
"Ireland is increasingly known as a world leader in innovation and for embracing technology. As Georgia Tech expands its global horizons, we seek partners who share our values and goals," said Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough. "Thus, we are especially pleased to celebrate the formation of this forward-looking collaboration with Ireland and our Georgia Tech Research Institute. We are grateful to the government and civic leaders of Ireland who worked on this exciting initiative with us."
The institute will work closely with Irish corporations and universities, the Georgia Tech research community and U.S. companies to provide companies on both sides of the Atlantic with industry-focused research and development that bridge the gap between academic discovery and commercial success.
"I'm delighted to be celebrating the official opening of GTRI Ireland, a unique and innovative institute for Athlone," said Ireland's Minister of Finance Brian Cowen. "This international Applied Research Institute will be a critical component of Ireland's R&D infrastructure."
Dr. Stephen E. Cross, Georgia Tech vice president and GTRI director noted, "GT Ireland is an integral part of GTRI's plan to develop international operations and build long-term relationships with industrial partners by providing innovative solutions through customer-focused R&D. This initiative directly supports Georgia Tech's vision to define the technological university of the 21st Century."
Georgia Tech Ireland and its research partners will focus on several strategic research strands to provide international leadership in these emerging fields.
The institute's digital media research will include development of a national test bed for Internet protocol television (IPTV), a fully interactive digital television research and development platform offered via fixed and wireless broadband connections. By bringing together developers and users, the institute will explore the potential applications of this emerging technology.
The research with RFID will center on authentication and identification technologies including RF, accoustics and optics for the commercial sector. Using a system engineering approach, the work will provide novel technologies to address complex challenges in global asset tracking, ePedigree and manufacturing.
The institute's biotechnology research will focus primarily on medical devices for preventive and predictive medicine and manufacturing of medical devices. Here the focus will be on the convergence of pharma, biomedical devices and ICT.
The institute's energy and environmental research focus will be on enabling technologies and systems models for sustainable energy alternatives. The range of research will span stationary and mobile applications.
GT Ireland's Athlone location leaves it well situated for collaborative research with a broad range of companies and universities throughout Ireland. Athlone is between Dublin on the east coast and Galway on the west coast. Cork, home of the renowned Tyndall Institute, is on the southern coast. Elan Pharmaceutical and Ericsson are both headquartered in Athlone, and other major corporations have plans to come to the region.
GTRI Deputy Director Dr. David Parekh, who has been working with IDA Ireland for the past two years to bring this initiative to fruition, will have primary responsibility for developing GT Ireland strategy, establishing corporate alliances and selecting the right talent to ensure this endeavor is successful. He commended IDA for its commitment to innovation and effectiveness in supporting initiatives through a world-class staff of professionals in Ireland and the U.S. In describing this partnership with the country of Ireland, he remarked, "Ireland has the resources of a nation and the agility of a start-up."
GTRI, established since 1934, has an international standing for its excellence in many areas of science and technology. It employs 1,300 people, including 600 full-time engineers and scientists, of which 73 percent hold advanced degrees.