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Thomas Kurfess (rear left), a professor in Georgia Tech's George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, explains some of the metallurgy testing that occurs at the Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility as (l-r) U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo, Professor Aaron Stebner, Assistant Commerce Secretary Alejandra Castillo, and Georgia Tech President Àngel Cabrera look on. (Photo: Rob Felt)
The Georgia Institute of Technology was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) as part of its $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Georgia Tech is one of 60 entities to be awarded funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to accelerate the rebuilding of their economies in the wake of the pandemic.
As a leader in artificial intelligence, manufacturing research, and innovation-led economic development, Georgia Tech will utilize the grant for technical assistance to plan the Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Corridor (GA-AIM). Led by Thomas Kurfess and Aaron Stebner in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and in collaboration with local partners, GA-AIM will fill existing technology gaps, build a technological opportunity framework that includes underrepresented communities and rural Georgia counties, and better secure the state’s manufacturing infrastructure.
Georgia Tech’s partners in the effort include the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, Spelman College, the Technical College System of Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
“We are truly honored to be awarded this grant to implement our vision for manufacturing excellence in Georgia with our partners in artificial intelligence research,” said Chaouki T. Abdallah, executive vice president for Research at Georgia Tech. “Alongside these important partners, the grant enables us to collaborate to include diverse backgrounds and perspectives in the process of learning, discovery, and creation, furthering Georgia Tech’s mission to expand access.”
Georgia Tech and its partners will pair artificial intelligence and manufacturing research innovation to better secure the manufacturing ecosystem, expand opportunity to distressed and rural communities and underrepresented groups, and support business growth across the state.
“We are thrilled to help communities work together — in coalitions of government, nonprofits, academia, the private sector, and others — to craft ambitious and regionally unique plans to rebuild their communities,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, assistant secretary of commerce for the EDA. “These projects will help revitalize local economies and tackle our biggest challenges related to climate change, manufacturing, supply chains, and more. EDA is proud to ignite these plans and help communities nationwide build back better.”
GA-AIM’s partners have created a complementary network of resources that focus on each partner organization’s expertise and mission.
“We have an opportunity to create meaningful impact at the intersection of AI and manufacturing,” said Stebner, who wrote the grant proposal that resulted in the $500,000 grant from EDA.
Kurfess, who serves as the regional economic competitiveness officer for the grant, added, “Bringing together AI and manufacturing will ensure a strong manufacturing base for Georgia that will leverage our well-trained workforce and our strong educational institutions that are participating in this effort. What excites me the most is that AI will augment our workforce, making it more valuable and productive, ensuring job growth for Georgia and the U.S. well into the future.”
The GA-AIM effort takes a multifaceted approach to address its core goals:
Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs
Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG)
With this grant, Tech becomes a finalist for significantly more funding to implement projects that support an industry sector and help communities withstand future economic shocks.
“GA-AIM is in strategic alignment with the EDA’s funding priorities, including manufacturing, workforce development, equity, and technology-based economic development,” said David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech and co-author of the grant proposal. “With manufacturing employing more than 400,000 people across the state and contributing more than $61 billion in economic activity, it’s critical that we leverage the best ideas and programs through our coalition of partners.”
About the Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students, representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
Writer: Péralte C. Paul I [email protected] I 404.316.1210
Media contact: Steven Norris | [email protected]| 404.281.3343
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo (left) and Georgia Tech President Àngel Cabrera listen as Lindsey Lanzillotta, a Georgia Tech graduate student explains the research she's doing at the Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility. Commerce Department officials were in Atlanta Dec. 13, 2021 to announce that Georgia Tech and a coalition of partners were recipients of a Phase 1 Build Back Better Challenge Grant. (Photo: Rob Felt)
U.S. Sen. Raphael G. Warnock gives remarks at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs in Atlanta as (from left) Russell Center President and CEO Jay Bailey, Georgia Tech President Àngel Cabrera, Assistant Commerce Secretary Alejandra Castillo, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms listen. Warnock and U.S. Department of Commerce officials were in Atlanta Dec. 13, 2021 to announce Georgia Tech and a coalition of partners received a Phase 1 Build Back Better Challenge Grant. (Photo: Rob Felt)
U.S. Department of Commerce Department officials were in Atlanta Dec. 13, 2021 to announce that Georgia Tech and a coalition of partners won a Phase 1 Build Back Better Challenge Grant. Fourth from left: Commerce Department Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo, Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo, and Georgia Tech President Àngel Cabrera. (Photo: Rob Felt)
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