Tech’s Campus Becomes an Innovation Hub
Thu, 07/19/2012 - 2:18pm
This week the National Science Foundation selected Georgia Tech as a National Innovation Node to help lead its Innovations Corps (I-Corps) program. Tech, along with the University of Michigan and Stanford University, will equip scientists and engineers to translate their discoveries into products. These three institutions will join together in an effort that has the potential to multiply quickly, benefiting not only entrepreneurs, but also our nation’s economy. The I-Corps process provides an effective environment to impartially assess the commercial value of the technology and identify the innovations that address a real need in the marketplace.
With the three-year, $1.5 million grant, Georgia Tech will research, analyze and leverage data from the I-Corps program to develop an understanding of how academic institutions can improve support for innovation ecosystems. Georgia Tech is teaching the I-Corps curriculum to NSF-designated teams from around the world. Much of this will take place at Technology Square in the heart of Midtown Atlanta.
For the past few years, momentum has been building. Today, Tech Square is an innovation ecosystem bringing together needed resources, expertise and opportunities for collaboration that creates an exciting environment for innovation to flourish.
Tech partners with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, headquartered in Tech Square, to attract new business and industry to the state. Last May, Panasonic announced its new auto innovation center in Centergy One in Tech Square, creating an incubator for next generation automotive infotainment technologies. A driving factor was the company’s interest in enhancing its partnership with Georgia Tech, including the Enterprise Innovation Institute, or EI2, Tech’s economic development center headquartered in Tech Square. The Centergy building is home to numerous high-tech companies, and several other companies and organizations are exploring having a presence in Tech Square. It is home to the Technology Association of Georgia and the state’s Technology Hall of Fame.
The mission of EI2 is to help enterprises of all kinds improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development. In particular, one of its programs — the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) — is helping Georgia technology entrepreneurs launch and sustain successful companies. Companies affiliated with the ATDC program reported revenues totaling more than $1.3 billion in 2011, and more than 5,500 jobs.
Tech Square is also home to Flashpoint, Tech’s latest startup accelerator that offers entrepreneurial education and access to experienced mentors, experts and investors in an immersive, shared-learning, open workspace. VentureLab is Tech’s comprehensive center for technology commercialization. In fiscal year 2011, it evaluated more than 200 Georgia Tech inventions and formed 17 new companies based on Georgia Tech intellectual property. Both Suniva and CardioMEMS were part of this program.
Companies benefit from Tech's School of Interactive Computing located in Tech Square, as well as the schools of Computer Science and Computational Science and Engineering in the College of Computing. They also capitalize on expertise from the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business in Tech Square. Included in the Scheller College of Business programs is an undergraduate degree in technology and management to create cross-functional leaders in technology and business-related fields. The Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship hosts an Impact Speaker Series, open to the public, which attracts some of the nation’s top business, government and academic leaders. The Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) is spearheading Georgia Tech’s efforts to bring innovation to higher education itself.
The GVU Center, one of Georgia Tech’s oldest and largest research centers, is a fixture of the Tech Square community. Its many partnerships have yielded innovations in everything from healthcare delivery to office furniture.
Adjacent to Tech Square is the Health Systems Institute (HSI), a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary initiative based at Georgia Tech and Emory University. The collaborative research, education and outreach programs are helping to transform healthcare to a proactive, health-and-wellness-focused system. HSI is part of the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), which fosters interactive collaboration in numerous ways. For example, IPaT helped secure funding for the Interoperability and Integration Innovation Lab (I3L) to stimulate new ideas in health IT, which in turn is collaborating with the Veterans Health Administration to accelerate the development of integrated health IT solutions and to provide an environment to test new products and train the IT workforce to move the industry forward.
Providing a professional education facility and meeting space in Technology Square is the Global Learning Center, designed as a place for individuals and corporations to further innovation. The Center expands Georgia Tech’s footprint by virtually connecting individuals to Tech’s world-class experts, including those at our global campuses. The center hosts 800 meetings and educational sessions with more than 20,0000 attendees each year. It is managed by Georgia Tech Professional Education, which offers professional master’s programs, short courses and certificate programs to meet the needs of working professionals and industry partners.
While already successful, Tech Square has great potential for the future. Georgia Tech is continuing to evaluate the possibility of placing a high performance computing center there, made particularly attractive because of ready access to the high-speed fiber networks that run along the West Peachtree Street corridor. The center would continue Tech’s leadership in the revitalization of Midtown, and has the potential to significantly enhance economic development in the area.
Tech Square has become an environment that attracts, energizes and provides support for start-up and established companies, connecting mentors, economic development professionals, and venture capitalists with entrepreneurs and innovators. By bringing together the people and technology resources from Georgia Tech, the state and business and industry, we are creating an innovation hub that is a tremendous resource for the Southeast.