Georgia Tech in R&D partner deal with Irish institute

21 Jan 2009

Venerable US research body Georgia Tech has signed an agreement to explore collaborative research and educational opportunities with an Irish institute of technology, based in the Midlands.

Georgia Tech has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and Georgia Tech Ireland (GTI), looking at joint research programmes, dual undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and the creation of a Midlands Gateway Research and Innovation Centre.

Over the course of the past year, AIT and GTI, which is located in Athlone, have collaborated on various initiatives in nanomedicine, biomedicine/biosciences and food- processing technologies. The MoU looks to the continuation of this development.

“This strategic partnership between Athlone and Atlanta will involve the sharing of expertise and resources that will be to the betterment of all parties,” the president of AIT, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said.

“An already strong relationship exists between our respective institutions, and this agreement provides the necessary framework to progress in new and bold directions.

“In particular, our common interest in wireless systems and nanomedicine sets the platform from which we will further develop this trans-Atlantic partnership. In an era where collaboration is increasingly the norm, this agreement is marked by an uncommon distinctiveness and vision.

“We look forward to working with Georgia Tech in delivering ground-breaking research and providing innovative academic programmes. At a time when hope is needed more than ever before, here is the germ of that promise,” Professor Ó Catháin said.

“GTI’s parent, Georgia Institute of Technology, has ranked in the top 10 among public universities in the US for 10 consecutive years, and its applied research arm, Georgia Tech Research Institute, performs more than US$100m worth of applied research annually,” Dr Krishan Ahuja, director of GTI and a Regents professor at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, explained.

“These resources, along with GTI’s outstanding facilities and personnel in Athlone, will support the collaboration with AIT and provide countless benefits for the entire region.”

The agreement envisages a joint research programme in wireless systems, which will build upon GTI’s existing radio frequency identification (RFID) and internet protocol television (IPTV) research programmes, and will use existing GTI and AIT facilities.

Both parties will endeavour to jointly secure necessary funding to support sustainment of related test beds, infrastructure and research faculty to engage in translational research.

For prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students, the possible implementation of joint/dual programmes in bioscience, nanomedicine, systems engineering and entrepreneurship is a very exciting development. The agreement envisages student and faculty exchanges between the US and Ireland.

The possibility of collaborating on continuing education/distance-learning programmes is also outlined. According to the parties, AIT and GTI will explore approaches to leverage Georgia Tech facilities such as the Global Learning Center (GLC) and Collaborative Visualization facility (CoVE) in Athlone.

AIT will also explore establishing a visiting fellowship for a senior Georgia Tech representative, who will be actively involved in developing joint research-project initiatives.

Research institutes on the Atlanta and Athlone campuses may also benefit from shared research leader expertise on their advisory boards. GTI will explore offering a suitable faculty title to leaders of key research institutes at AIT that have collaborative programmes with GTI.


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AIT has established partnerships and agreements with over 220 universities and third-level institutions around the globe. The institute is a participant on the International Centre for Graduate Education in Micro- and Nano-Engineering (ICGEE), together with 13 other partners from Europe, America and Asia.

Georgia Tech Ireland was officially opened in 2006 at the IDA Business and Technology Park, Athlone. Established by Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the applied research and real-world problem-solving arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology, it was GTRI’s first applied- research facility outside of the US. GTI partners and collaborates with Irish corporations, higher education institutions and research centres, the Georgia Tech research community and US companies.

Georgia Institute of Technology is one of America’s top research universities, distinguished by its commitment to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology.

Georgia Tech’s campus occupies 400 acres in the heart of the city of Atlanta, where more than 19,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students receive a focused, technologically based education.

Caption: Tech Tower at Georgia Tech

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years