The Georgia Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and the University of Limerick today announced a unique partnership to develop a joint translational research institute.  Prime Minister of Ireland Brian Cowen, T.D., Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, NUI Galway President James J. Browne and University of Limerick President Don Barry attended the ceremony, held at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, Ireland.

With an increasing emphasis on research providing immediate industrial and economic benefits, Ireland is focused on a “smart economy” and a knowledge-based society.  The proposed translational research institute, with the backing of Georgia Tech’s long-standing and extensive track record of industry-focused research and technology development, will play a key leadership role in launching new technology.  This will benefit U.S. companies with an interest in Ireland as well as Ireland-based corporations.

The new translational research institute will focus on the core technologies and expertise of the partner institutions. While it will retain the Georgia Tech Ireland name, it will be constituted as a commercial Irish company. The three partner universities will be connected through a member agreement that defines the relationship between the institutions and the company.  GT Ireland will report to the three institutions through a research advisory council that will define the research objectives. The agreement also allows each of the three institutions to formally conduct joint research programs of benefit to the people of Ireland and Georgia.  Initial research activities will include development of wireless sensors, digital media in health systems, medical supply chains and sustainable energy.

The new partnership will also make it easier for Georgia Tech to conduct many large-scale applied research programs and will provide additional real-world research opportunities for Georgia Tech students.  

“Georgia Tech is building upon a successful working relationship with both universities that has already produced important research in such areas as use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) in medical inventory management and energy management for buildings, and in-home care of aging populations,” said Peterson. “Georgia Tech remains committed to research efforts in Ireland, and we feel the synergy with our Irish partners will be a pathway to long-term successful operations.”

Current research being conducted at Georgia Tech Ireland includes:

  • Clinical Laboratory Automated Stockroom System (CLASS) is an initiative led by Georgia Tech Ireland, with GS1 Ireland and the Western Vascular Institute, to create a global resource center to realize the community benefits that automated stock management systems can create in health care.
  • Smart Ambient Assisted Living (SAAL) is a strategic research collaboration between NUI Galway, UL and Georgia Tech in ambient assisted living. It is an alliance of researchers whose focus is to create innovative, person-centered, technological solutions for the effective management of health and wellness in the home and community.
  • SmartHeat is a three-year program with Georgia Tech Ireland serving as one of four research performers within the consortium. Georgia Tech Ireland is developing a wireless sensor network to enhance the efficiency of heating systems.
  • Factory of the Future, a project in collaboration with the Department of Information Technology at NUI Galway, is an RFID tracking system that improves efficiencies in manufacturing sites with clean room facilities. In the proposal stage, this project is being demonstrated to a multinational company.
  • Direct to Discovery is a novel program that brings higher-education instruction to K-12 students via a sophisticated high-definition videoconferencing platform.  Students in the U.S. and Ireland can now learn from and interact in real time with researchers working in labs on the Georgia Tech campus and other locations around the world.  

Shane Fanning, the new general manager of Georgia Tech Ireland, will oversee the implementation of the new agreement.  Fanning has more than 20 years of experience in the software development, consumer imaging and telecommunications industries.  

Georgia Tech Ireland was established in December 2006.