Driving Economic Growth

Architect's rendering of the Coda building

Driving Economic Growth

Georgia Tech’s faculty and students partner closely with industry and government to develop innovations that result in economic growth and 21st-century jobs. The Institute is deeply invested in the success of Atlanta and Georgia.


A line of several people holding shovels at the Coda groundbreaking

Georgia Tech, City of Atlanta, and Portman Holdings officials celebrate the December 2016 groundbreaking for Coda, which will serve as a state-of-the-art resource for breakthrough research.

Coda Groundbreaking Signals Major Expansion of Technology Square

Construction began in late 2016 on the new Coda building, which represents the next phase of Georgia Tech’s Technology Square.

The nearly 750,000-square-foot mixed-use project will create new opportunities in interdisciplinary research, commercialization, and sustainability. It will also enhance the area’s innovation ecosystem, which fosters collaboration between the Institute, startups, and established industry leaders.

“Coda, which includes a high-performance computing center, will take innovation to a whole new level.”

G.P. “Bud” Peterson

“Since it first opened 13 years ago, Technology Square (Tech Square) in Midtown Atlanta has rapidly become one of the leading regional innovation hubs in the southeastern U.S. Tech Square promotes and facilitates innovation and collaboration between businesses and industry and the Georgia Tech community,” said President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “Coda, which includes a high-performance computing center, will take innovation to a whole new level. This iconic building developed by Portman Holdings will become a magnet for corporations and startups alike, while serving as a state-of-the-art resource for breakthrough research. As such, this new facility will help propel the region and Midtown Atlanta as one of the leading innovation ecosystems in the Southeast and the nation.”

Portman Holdings owns the Coda building, and John Portman & Associates is designing the facility. Georgia Tech will be the anchor tenant, occupying about half of the 620,000 square feet of office space. The project includes nearly 40,000 square feet of retail space and an approximately 80,000-square-foot data center. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

More Prestigious Firms Locate in Tech Square

The number of innovation centers and corporate laboratories choosing to call Tech Square home reached an all-time high of 20 this past year. The partnerships that form between these innovation centers and Georgia Tech faculty and students are producing transformational breakthroughs that stimulate economic growth and improve the quality of life on a grand scale. The following corporations opened new innovation centers in Tech Square in 2016-17:


Five men about to cut a ribbon in front of a sign that says "Boeing Manufacturing Development Center"

In the Boeing Manufacturing Development Center, company researchers and Georgia Tech engineering students are working together to implement automation in industrial applications. The center is located in Georgia Tech’s new 19,000-square-foot Delta Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility on 14th Street.

“This advanced center will let Georgia Tech students collaborate with Boeing engineers to help drive the development of innovative factory automation solutions in aerospace,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology.

One of the center ’s first research projects will focus on utilizing industrial robotics for machining and fabrication applications that can be applied to the manufacturing processes at Boeing.

The Chick-Fil-A cow holding up a Georgia Tech Buzz Card with its picture on it

The Chick-fil-A Innovation Satellite Office, along with the ongoing intern recruitment program housed there, is part of a larger partnership with Georgia Tech and emphasizes Chick-fil-A’s commitment to innovation.

The 6,000-square-foot space is located in the historic Biltmore. Chick-fil-A is working with faculty and students to explore design, innovation, and development projects among various majors and disciplines.

“Georgia Tech and Chick-fil-A enjoy a long and collaborative relationship, including employing our undergraduates as interns and hiring our graduates,” said President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “We are delighted to welcome them to Georgia Tech’s Biltmore to enhance our partnership and expand the opportunities for interaction with our students, faculty, and staff.”


The opening of The Helix Innovation Center at Georgia Tech expands Emerson’s global network of innovation facilities focused on climate solutions, including The Helix Innovation Center at the University of Dayton in Ohio, The Europe Solution Center in Aachen, Germany, and The Emerson Innovation Centre in Pune, India.

Emerson is leveraging a variety of projects to explore solutions to customer problems through The Helix Innovation Center at Georgia Tech. Early projects already completed include multiple industry and product ideation sessions, reviews of new technology and entrepreneurial concepts, early development of advanced components for Emerson building management systems, and student engagements in research projects and prototyping product concepts.

Keysight Technologies

A large diverse group of young people stands with the Georgia Tech president in front of a screen that reads Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies, a leading provider of electronic design and test software, equipment, and services, opened its new Software Design Center in Technology Square last fall.

“We selected Georgia Tech and Midtown Atlanta based on several things, including the quality of students coming from Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and School of Computer Science,” said Jay Alexander, Keysight’s chief technology officer.

Other critical factors were the quality of research and longstanding partnerships the company has with researchers in those schools, along with a supportive business climate in Georgia and Atlanta’s quality-of-life attributes, he said.

The Santa Rosa, California-based company’s $13.9 million investment in Georgia is expected to create more than 200 software engineering jobs.


The Data Analytics and Applications Center will help transportation providers use big data to improve operations and safety. For example, the Siemens team will work with the City of Atlanta to collect information from the Atlanta Streetcar and analyze data points to make the best use of the fleet.

Georgia Tech has partnered on more than 20 projects with Siemens over the past four years in manufacturing, health care, and energy.

For more than 15 years, the Siemens Foundation has collaborated with the Institute on activities that include improving K-12 science and math education in underserved communities; hosting the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology; and preparing students for the future of manufacturing.

A group of people, including Georgia Tech president Peterson, prepare to cut a ribbon that says UCB Solution Accelerator

The UCB Solution Accelerator provides a unique environment designed to drive collaboration between UCB and the Georgia Tech community to develop solutions that will positively impact the lives of those living with acute diseases. The 2,500-square-foot innovation center is located in the Centergy Building at Tech Square.

With its North America Headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia, UCB is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to treat severe diseases of the immune and central nervous system. As the first pharmaceutical company with an innovation center in Tech Square, UCB will be able to tap into Georgia Tech’s state-of-the art machine learning and advanced analytics resources to improve patient care and the patient experience.

Portrait of Karen Fite

“Manufacturing is a key component of Georgia’s economy, and this funding will allow us to continue serving the companies that provide jobs, investment, and new economic activity across our state.”

Karen Fite

$13 Million Award Will Continue Support for Georgia Manufacturers

Georgia Tech will receive $13.5 million in federal funding over the next five years to continue a program that has assisted small- and mid-sized manufacturing companies in Georgia for more than half a century. The funding will be used by the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), which serves manufacturers through a network of 10 regional offices and more than 30 extension personnel statewide.

In fiscal 2015, the GaMEP assisted nearly 2,000 Georgia manufacturers, helping them create or save 2,149 jobs, invest $106 million in facilities, reduce operating costs by $25 million, and increase sales by more than $200 million. Established in 1960, GaMEP is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s business assistance and economic development unit.

“Manufacturing is a key component of Georgia’s economy, and this funding will allow us to continue serving the companies that provide jobs, investment, and new economic activity across our state,” said Karen Fite, director of GaMEP. “We are proud to be part of the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership helping companies expand their top-line growth and reduce bottom-line cost. The Georgia MEP helps our state’s manufacturers grow and remain competitive in world markets.”

GaMEP offers assistance in such areas as lean and process improvement, quality management, energy management, sustainability, and business growth — which includes new customer development, new market expansion, and new product development. GaMEP also connects companies to resources and expertise at Georgia Tech.

The funding will take the form of a five-year cooperative agreement in which federal funds will be matched by state funds and contracts with manufacturers requesting assistance with a broad range of technical, managerial, and marketing issues. The federal funding is provided by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which awarded more than $180 million to organizations in 11 states and Puerto Rico, as part of its efforts to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.

Georgia Tech also supports the state’s manufacturing companies through a partnership between the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The goal of the partnership is to improve Georgia’s advanced manufacturing skills gap. One result of this partnership has been a pilot program developed by West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) and GTMI for WGTC students to intern at GTMI in advanced manufacturing research and technology transfer projects. The pilot program is designed to address the lack of potential workers for skilled production and technician jobs.

NSF I-Corps Grant Supports Entrepreneurship, Innovation

A large crowd listening to a speaker at the front of a lecture hall

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $3.4 million Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant to Georgia Tech’s VentureLab program to expand its work in teaching entrepreneurship, support research, and innovation.

The NSF’s I-Corps program — a boot camp that shows what it’s like to form a startup — helps NSF-funded researchers learn how to commercialize their findings and determine whether a market actually exists for what they developed.

“I-Corps nodes support the national innovation ecosystem and help some of America’s brightest researchers test the commercial potential of their discoveries,” said Grace Wang, acting assistant director for the NSF Directorate for Engineering. “We are thrilled to support these regional innovation hotbeds, which will help to foster local economic development and expand access to more researchers of all different backgrounds who seek entrepreneurship training.”

The grant, one of five the NSF awarded to schools across the country, supports innovation hubs called I-Corps nodes.

This new NSF grant expands Georgia Tech’s efforts and creates the I-Corps South Node, which includes Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business.

Because of its long experience with forming companies from university research, Georgia Tech — through its VentureLab incubator — was selected in 2012 to be among the first institutions to become “nodes” teaching the I-Corps curriculum. VentureLab is Georgia Tech’s technology commercialization incubator that primarily serves Tech faculty, staff, and students who seek to launch startup companies from the technology innovations they have developed.

“This effort underscores Georgia Tech’s economic development mission and commitment to creating the next generation of entrepreneurial problem solvers,” said Chris Downing, who is the I-Corps South Node’s principal investigator and vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Tech’s chief economic development and extension outreach arm. “Through our collective service efforts to entrepreneurs, business, researchers, and innovators, Georgia Tech and our partner schools in Alabama and Tennessee are working together to design a foundation of regional innovation in the Southeast.”

 Georgia Tech's name with other supporting companies on a wall, a group of the first cohort of entrepreneurs, and the Engage work room

The Engage accelerator space, shown left and right, is housed in ATDC and will be home base for 10 companies selected as the accelerator's first cohort. Participating in Engage are Jonathan Allen of Gauge, Amari Ruff of Sudu, Andy Monin of Cyrano, Ryan O'Donnell of EmployUs, Craig Fuller of Transrisk, and Allison Robinson of The Mom Project.

Engage Accelerator Launches with $15 Million in Corporate Support

A new mentorship-driven accelerator and venture fund targeting high-tech startups has arrived in Atlanta. The national program, called Engage, was launched through a joint announcement by Georgia Tech, the City of Atlanta, and the CEOs of 10 leading global corporations.

The Engage accelerator is open to startups across the country, with a focus on mentoring and market access strategies. The program is supported through a venture fund, and 10 corporations made an initial commitment of $15 million. In addition, the corporations are actively supporting the accelerator through mentoring, education, and collaboration.

Engage offers programming and other services through a contract with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), which was established to launch and build technology companies.

The primary objective of the mentoring is to help startups with their go-to-market strategy. Engage also helps the startups connect with key resources and people in large companies.

“Georgia Tech is committed to continue working with both large corporations and startups to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast,” said President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “By engaging the business community to maximize our collective strengths, we can attract and grow new companies, foster economic development, and retain talent in Georgia.”

Engage is a key initiative of the Atlanta Committee for Progress (ACP), a coalition that includes the mayor of Atlanta, leading CEOs, and university presidents. The ACP focuses on critical issues facing the city; one of its key priorities is furthering Atlanta’s development as a leading technology hub with increased access to funding for startups. In addition to securing direct support from the founding companies, Engage entrepreneurs are connected to more than 30 ACP member companies.

The 10 founding companies contributing capital, expertise, time, and resources in support of Engage include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation Inc., Intercontinental Exchange, Invesco Ltd., The Home Depot, and UPS. Executives from these firms serve as mentors to the companies receiving financial support from Engage.

“The robust level of participation from the city’s leading corporations will help ensure Engage’s success by providing a world-class incubation program for high-potential startups,” said Martin Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco and a member of the Atlanta Committee for Progress.

Each of the founding companies committed $1.5 million to a venture fund that has been formed to make equity and equity-related investments into companies admitted to Engage. The fund will be managed by Tech Square Ventures.

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