Technology Entrepreneurs Accelerate Business in FastTrac TechVenture Program

“Cajuns use the word lagniappe to mean a little something extra,” explained native Louisianan Dave Bernard, vice president and co-founder of The Intellection Group, based in Duluth. “And that’s what I feel like we got with FastTrac. Every entrepreneur should go through this program.”

Last fall, The Intellection Group and 16 other companies were accepted into FastTrac® TechVenture™, a comprehensive business training program that addresses the needs of startup technology entrepreneurs. The inaugural 12-week program, licensed by the Kauffman Foundation, was presented by Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). Participants heard from guest speakers and mentors on subjects such as defining target markets, conducting market research and analysis, planning for financial success, protecting intellectual property, identifying funding and managing cash, among others.

“There was a lot of preparation and homework for each class, and for a small company, the investment can be a strain,” said Bernard, whose startup technology company produces customized software applications. “That being said, it was worth 10 times what it cost. We were able to better position ourselves and make a better pitch. The networking alone pushed our company forward 12 to 18 months.”

According to Cindy Cheatham, director of business development for ATDC, the 17 FastTrac companies were chosen from a select group of 50 applicants, creating an environment of strong, committed entrepreneurs. The program concluded with a graduation in which each company presented a 60-second elevator pitch that incorporated lessons learned. Some of the “most fundable” companies presented focused, five-minute investor presentations to the graduation audience of angel investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and event sponsors.

“Overall the program was a great success for the companies and the community,” Cheatham noted. “Companies sharpened their plans and impressed investors, which led to more than a dozen in-person meetings and built a community of mentors and entrepreneur peers.”

One such mentor who participated with FastTrac was Emma Morris, founding partner of The Morris Group, a strategy and execution consulting firm. She says she got involved with the program because she wanted to give back to the community that helped her get her start, something she says is critical to growing leadership within the technology community. Other mentors who participated included Steve Bachman, Ilaria Derr, Jeff Hoffman, Greg Peters and Jim Stratigos.

“None of us got to wherever we are today without the help of a lot of wonderful mentors. One of my mentors once told me, ‘I can help you avoid the mistakes I made, but you are on your own for the new ones,’” she recalled. “FastTrac is a way to be that mentor to five companies at once. Plus, I learned a lot from the other mentors. Most of us are going so fast on a daily basis that we don’t take time to do peer-to-peer learning. This gave us weekly time to do just that before, during and after the meetings each week.”

Morris acknowledged the intensity of the workshop, but encouraged young entrepreneurs to stick with the program: “It is a bit like drinking out of a fire hose for both mentors and participants – just like the real world of starting a company. You never have time to fully digest any single event or thought before the next crisis or opportunity hits, which is great training for the day-to-day life of an entrepreneur.”

Sanjay Bhatia is CEO and founder of Izenda, an enterprise web 2.0 startup that makes it possible for business users to generate custom reports without involving IT. He agrees that the training provided by FastTrac added tremendous momentum to his company’s growth. Izenda has recently been accepted into ATDC.

“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “The program enabled us to target a larger market than we otherwise would have been able to, and the networking opportunities were incredible. Any entrepreneur starting a company needs to think about these issues.”

Bernard echoed Bhatia’s sentiments: “Now I have an informed network of advisors. It’s a very giving network and it makes me want to help others. This experience has been the equivalent of gaining access to ATDC – and all the unexpected benefits that come with that – without being an ATDC company.”

ATDC will begin accepting applications for the next FastTrac® TechVenture™ in July with the program targeted to begin in late August.  For more information, go to www.atdc.org/fasttrac).

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

Georgia Minority Business Enterprise Center Wins Renewed Funding from U.S. Department of Commerce

The Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Institute of Technology recently won renewed funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue operating the Georgia Statewide Minority Business Enterprise Center (GMBEC). Since its inception three years ago, GMBEC has helped its clients secure nearly $70 million in financing and create more than 240 jobs.

The GMBEC is part of a national network of centers established to increase the number of minority-owned businesses and strengthen existing ones. Its services are designed to improve access to capital, make business more profitable, create jobs and make companies sustainable. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

One such client is Lord and Dominion, a corporate housing and relocation company that landed a $3 million contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shortly after becoming a GMBEC client. It has since won two additional contracts.

“My company definitely would not have had this growth spurt without GMBEC,” said President and CEO Mary McFaddin. “They are the best thing around for the small businessperson.”

Stephen A. Dawkins, M.D. is medical director of Caduceus Occupational Medicine, a practice founded in April 1999 that provides services such as drug screens, physical exams, workers compensation services and injury treatment. He has also experienced the benefits of GMBEC’s financial expertise, and is currently working with the Center on organizational and lean process and site selection projects.

“I have been impressed with the range of services they offer,” said Dawkins. “And I have significant expectations of how the Center will be able to help us.”

Donna Ennis, project director for the GMBEC, noted that customers like Dawkins and McFaddin have made the Center what it is today.

“Our clients’ support of our efforts and belief in our abilities to deliver were the key ingredients to our success,” she said. “Winning the re-bid means we can look forward to taking the GMBEC to the next level. We’ll continue to provide one-on-one management and technical assistance and we’ll add new programs that will bring value to our clients’ efforts to grow their businesses.”

For more information on minority business services offered by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, contact Donna Ennis (404-894-2096); E-mail: (donna.ennis@innovate.gatech.edu).

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

ATDC Company ScanTech Wins National Homeland Security Business Competition for X-ray Security Inspection System

Atlanta-based ScanTech Holdings, LLC, a manufacturer of sophisticated X-ray security inspection systems and a member company of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), has been voted the national winner of the first Defend America Challenge, a national homeland security technology business plan competition sponsored by the Chesapeake Innovation Center (CIC) in Annapolis, Maryland.

ScanTech, one of six finalists from across the country to present innovative business plans before a panel of eight judges as part of the national competition, was awarded $50,000. Judging criteria included market need, intellectual property, business viability and presentation. The company’s business plan was originally selected from more than 50 nationwide by CIC.

“We have developed a leading-edge technology that will have a critical impact on the war on terrorism,” said Dolan Falconer, president and CEO of ScanTech. “Our ability to detect and identify substances such as nuclear materials, liquid and solid explosives and hazardous chemicals that may be hidden inside of baggage or cargo containers will be a vital component in improving security. Winning this competition further validates the importance of our technological innovation and advancement in the non-intrusive security inspection field. Our entire team is honored to win the first Defend America Challenge national award, and we applaud the efforts of CIC to identify and promote innovative homeland security technologies.”

ScanTech was founded shortly after Sept. 11, 2001 by five seasoned nuclear and security experts who saw a worldwide need for new technologies for non-intrusive detection of contraband such as nuclear weapons, explosives and other implements of terror.  The company has commercialized a variety of advanced X-ray inspection products including systems designed for checkpoints, airport baggage, air cargo, packages and parcels, pallets and large cargo containers.

“ScanTech’s competitive advantage lies in its proprietary and patented advanced dual energy X-ray material discrimination technology,” Falconer explained.  “Current airport screening and cargo inspection systems use one X-ray source that permits operators to see shapes only. ScanTech’s technology, on the other hand, allows the system to determine an object’s density and atomic weight, as well as to reveal its contents.”

ScanTech, headquartered in Atlanta at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech, also maintains manufacturing operations in Buford, Ga.

“We are proud that a technology company in our program has been identified as having the best homeland security technology in the country,” said Tony Antoniades, general manager of the ATDC and director of the Entrepreneur Services Division of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.  “It is very fulfilling to work with a company that is going to save lives around the world.”

The event was organized by the Chesapeake Innovation Center (CIC), a business accelerator located in Annapolis, MD.

“The Defend America Challenge event brought together a terrific group of innovative entrepreneurs and high level homeland security representatives,” said Laura Neuman, CIC interim executive director. “Our mission is to bridge the gap between innovation in technology and the homeland security marketplace and this event helped us meet that mission. We hope to make the Defend America Challenge an annual event.”

About the Chesapeake Innovation Center: CIC, located in the “informatics corridor” of Anne Arundel County, Md., is a business accelerator that focuses the power of entrepreneurship on America’s national security requirements. By creating a bridge between major users of security technology and small companies at the forefront of innovation, the CIC, its partners and member companies are able to offer significant advancements in the areas of informatics, energy, physical and cyber security technologies.

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Technical Contact: Dolan Falconer, ScanTech Holdings, LLC, (404-526-6220); E-mail: (dfalconer@scantechholdings.com)

Georgia Tech Packages Workflow Improvements to Help Alcan Increase Sales and Employment

R.J. Reynolds is one of a number of consumer product manufacturers that increasingly rely on customized packaging to reach different market demographics. The trend heralds a significant increase in business for Alcan Packaging Co.’s Peachtree City, Ga., printing plant, which mainly produces packaging for R.J. Reynolds’ numerous cigarette brands. But to take advantage of the opportunity, Alcan management had to figure out how to tighten their processes, and for that, they turned to Georgia Tech.

Typically, Alcan’s rotogravure press operated long continuous runs of up to 20 hours per job, according to general manager Chris Turk. R.J. Reynolds’ new approach meant that while the aggregate number of cigarette packages would be about the same, the total would be divided among several shorter runs, one for each different wrapper design. So the first key issue to be tackled for increasing capacity was how to reduce the time-consuming press set-up required for each new print job.

“Strategically it wasn’t a cost-reduction initiative,” said Turk. “We were trying to get ahead of where our customers are going.” The number of SKUs – manufacturing parlance for individual items – ordered by customers has doubled and sometimes tripled in recent years, he added.

“If we were to move from a relatively simplistic supply chain to a highly complex supply chain, from a few items to a very high-mix manufacturing environment, one of the things we needed to look at was set-up time reduction,” Turk said.

He contacted an old acquaintance, Derek Woodham, West Georgia region manager for Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. Woodham visited the Peachtree City plant to outline Georgia Tech’s services and learn about Alcan’s needs.

“They recognized that to grow the business they had to look at their processes in terms of turning jobs around faster and freeing up capacity in the finished goods storage area as well as material handling,” Woodham said. “We conducted a kaizen related to setup reduction, and they took that training and application and applied it to all their presses.”

Kaizen is a learn-by-doing technique involving all employees and managers for implementing lean manufacturing and continuous improvement. The methodology focuses on process and results, systemic thinking and objectivity.

The reduction in set-up time was so successful in getting jobs through the press quickly that the pre-press work for new jobs couldn’t be ready fast enough, creating a delay. At the other end of the press, finished work quickly accumulated, creating a bottleneck. Workflow efficiency then became Woodham’s next target.

Finished goods come off the press and are stacked on pallets, which are then taken to a stretch-wrapping machine before going to the shipping area. It’s a straightforward process in theory, but had become a bit disorganized in practice.

“We created flow lanes for the finished goods area so the forklift drivers put material into designated locations instead of having things stacked all over the place randomly, ” Woodham explained. The new organization included a process for moving pallets to the stretch-wrap area that resulted in a steady flow of work to the machine, he noted. Previously, the haphazard material flow would leave the machine underutilized for periods of time, but double- or triple-booked at other times.

“They had been thinking about buying another stretch wrap machine to handle the crunch times,” Woodham said, “but by evening out the material flow, a second machine was not necessary.”

The value to Alcan of these changes and increased capacity is substantial, since they enabled the company to more than double its R.J. Reynolds’ account.

Alcan already had a little more than 40 percent of R.J. Reynolds’ cigarette packaging business when the company acquired the rest of the multi-million-dollar contract, according to Turk. “So we had to figure out how to fit more business into our existing plant until we could build a new one,” he said. “If we hadn’t been able to do that, I think we would have been in deep trouble because the contractual arrangements and agreements were fairly rigorous in terms of what would happen if you couldn’t supply the product – and more than doubling your business transcends just asking people to work overtime.”

The new business also added 25 new jobs, bringing Alcan-Atlanta’s total to 180, Turk noted.

With 31,000 employees at 140 sites in 30 countries, Alcan Packaging is a major player in specialty packaging for the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and medical, beauty, and tobacco markets. A company that size has extensive continuous improvement expertise available in-house, so why work with Georgia Tech?

The services offered by through the Enterprise Innovation Institute are, in a word, convenient, according to Turk.

“With Georgia Tech, we can tap into their lean enterprise programs when we want to, in whatever way we want, with as many people or as few people as we want,” he explained. “To me that’s a great opportunity. I might not know today that in a month I’ll need to take advantage of something they have to offer, but when that time comes, they’ll be ready to help.”

Another advantage, Turk noted, is that Georgia Tech experts like Derek Woodham bring an outsider’s perspective to the task. People within the company culture tend to think alike regardless of whether they work at a printing plant in Georgia or a printing plant in the United Kingdom, he noted.

“I think our kaizens were successful, at least in part, because nobody came in here with a pre-set notion of the way it ought to be.”

Corporate programs tend toward a one-size-fits-all approach and can be time-consuming as well as logistically inconvenient if a certain training session is held in a distant location.

“For the kaizen we ran last summer with Georgia Tech,” Turk said, “they came in, four days later they left, and we were done.

“I don’t think we even used 10 percent of what’s available at Georgia Tech to help us achieve what we were able to achieve. That’s the exciting part because from our standpoint here at Alcan Atlanta, this was a huge, huge success story for us.”

For more information on lean enterprise services offered by the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, contact Derek Woodham (706-881-0535); E-mail: (derek.woodham@innovate.gatech.edu) or Tim Israel (404-894-2272); E-mail: (tim.israel@innovate.gatech.edu).

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Writer: Gary Goettling

Nanotechnology Competition: Study Ranks Georgia Tech Among Top U.S. Institutions for Nano Research

The Georgia Institute of Technology ranks third in the nation for the number of nanotechnology researchers that are “highly cited” in peer-reviewed publications, and in the top ten for the number of first authors publishing in such journals.  Overall, Georgia Tech is among the nation’s top 25 institutions for National Science Foundation (NSF) nanotechnology research support, and leads the South in such key indicators as the number of nanotechnology doctoral dissertations and nanotechnology prize winners.

The statistics are contained in “Connecting the Dots: Creating a Southern Nanotechnology Network,” a study done through the Program in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy – a joint initiative of the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute and the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy – for the Southern Growth Policies Board.  Published in April 2006, the study evaluated the South’s competitive position in the budding nanotechnology industry.  The study’s research team evaluated five factors in nanotechnology – human capital, knowledge generation, research and development funding, patents and commercialization – for the period 1995-2004.

“Traditionally, the South hasn’t been viewed as having strengths in nanotechnology research, but in this study we show that there is a substantial amount going on here,” said Jan Youtie, one of the study’s co-authors and a principal research associate in the Enterprise Innovation Institute  “The big strengths are that 20 percent of all nanotechnology research publications in the United States come from the Southern region, and that four of the top 25 institutions in nanotechnology funding support are in this region.”

In addition to Georgia Tech, the other three top-25 institutions from the region are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University.  Though the collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory University has won large federal grants for studying nanotechnology in the life sciences, those awards came after the report’s study period, noted Youtie, who is also an adjunct associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

Sponsored by the Technology Transfer and Economic Development Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the study examined nanotechnology activity in 13 states – plus Puerto Rico – served by the Southern Grown Policies Board, a public policy think-tank.  Texas and Florida, two significant players in nanotechnology, are not part of the Board’s regional focus and so were not included in the study.

Within the South, the study reported that the state of Georgia ranks:

  • First in the number of nanotechnology prize winners;
  • Second in the number of nanotechnology publications;
  • Second in the number of highly cited primary researchers;
  • Second in the number of doctoral dissertations;
  • Third in the dollar value of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in nanotechnology areas;
  • Third in the number of nanotechnology patents;
  • Fourth in the dollar amount of nanotechnology-related grants from the National Science Foundation.

One of Georgia Tech’s strengths is its connections to other national and international nanotechnology research institutions.  “Part of the reason that Georgia Tech has a leading position in the South is that we have a lot of researchers who are networked outside their departments to researchers elsewhere,” Youtie explained.  “This is a strength because many research advances occur by cross-fertilization with other departments and disciplines.”

Though Georgia has strengths in nanotechnology research and development, it faces significant weakness in patents and the commercialization of technology, both key elements needed for a robust nanotechnology industrial community.  That’s also true for other Southern states – and in other technologies, notes Philip Shapira, another co-author and a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

“We have growing research capabilities, but the real issue is whether we have the commercialization capabilities,” he noted.

Though Georgia has invested in developing startup companies, it’s not yet clear what role early-stage companies will play in turning nanotechnology innovations into commercial products.

“Nanotechnology is very pervasive across industry because it facilitates improvement in a broad range of products and processes,” Shapira said.  “For example, we are seeing nanoparticles and nanofibers being introduced as parts of tires, microelectronics, clothing and biomedicine.  These industries are dominated by big companies, so this may be an area where big companies have a more important role to play than startups.”

Because the nanotechnology industry is young and will likely advance through several distinct growth phases, state efforts to gain leadership still have time to pay off, Shapira says.  To take advantage of the nanotechnology revolution, he adds, Georgia will not only have to attract more venture capital for startups, but also develop linkages with well-funded companies that have the resources to bring new products to market.

“None of these are easy or automatic, but they are areas that we have to push,” he said.  “I think there is a window during which Georgia could emerge as a bigger player in nanotechnology commercialization if we can develop strategic policy action, as well as leadership on the business side.”

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Technical Contacts: Jan Youtie (404-894-6111); E-mail: (jan.youtie@innovate.gatech.edu) or Phil Shapira (404-894-7735): E-mail: (philip.shapira@pubpolicy.gatech.edu).

Writer: John Toon

The Georgia Institute of Technology ranks third in the nation for the number of nanotechnology researchers that are “highly cited” in peer-reviewed publications, and in the top ten for the number of first authors publishing in such journals.  Overall, Georgia Tech is among the nation’s top 25 institutions for National Science Foundation (NSF) nanotechnology research support, and leads the South in such key indicators as the number of nanotechnology doctoral dissertations and nanotechnology prize winners.

nanogenerator84_md.jpg
Professor Zhong Lin Wang holds a sample nanowire array that could be used to power nanometer-scale devices.  Wang’s publications helped Georgia Tech rank third in the nation for the number of nanotechnology researchers that are “highly-cited” in peer-reviewed journals.

The statistics are contained in “Connecting the Dots: Creating a Southern Nanotechnology Network,” a study done through the Program in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy – a joint initiative of the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute and the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy – for the Southern Growth Policies Board.  Published in April 2006, the study evaluated the South’s competitive position in the budding nanotechnology industry.  The study’s research team evaluated five factors in nanotechnology – human capital, knowledge generation, research and development funding, patents and commercialization – for the period 1995-2004.

“Traditionally, the South hasn’t been viewed as having strengths in nanotechnology research, but in this study we show that there is a substantial amount going on here,” said Jan Youtie, one of the study’s co-authors and a principal research associate in the Enterprise Innovation Institute  “The big strengths are that 20 percent of all nanotechnology research publications in the United States come from the Southern region, and that four of the top 25 institutions in nanotechnology funding support are in this region.”

In addition to Georgia Tech, the other three top-25 institutions from the region are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University.  Though the collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory University has won large federal grants for studying nanotechnology in the life sciences, those awards came after the report’s study period, noted Youtie, who is also an adjunct associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

landman34_md.jpg
Professor Uzi Landman discusses his work, which provides a theoretical foundation for nanotechnology.  Prizes that Landman has won helped Georgia rank first in the South for the number of nanotechnology prizes received.

Sponsored by the Technology Transfer and Economic Development Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the study examined nanotechnology activity in 13 states – plus Puerto Rico – served by the Southern Grown Policies Board, a public policy think-tank.  Texas and Florida, two significant players in nanotechnology, are not part of the Board’s regional focus and so were not included in the study.

Within the South, the study reported that the state of Georgia ranks:

  • First in the number of nanotechnology prize winners;
  • Second in the number of nanotechnology publications;
  • Second in the number of highly cited primary researchers;
  • Second in the number of doctoral dissertations;
  • Third in the dollar value of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in nanotechnology areas;
  • Third in the number of nanotechnology patents;
  • Fourth in the dollar amount of nanotechnology-related grants from the National Science Foundation.

One of Georgia Tech’s strengths is its connections to other national and international nanotechnology research institutions.  “Part of the reason that Georgia Tech has a leading position in the South is that we have a lot of researchers who are networked outside their departments to researchers elsewhere,” Youtie explained.  “This is a strength because many research advances occur by cross-fertilization with other departments and disciplines.”

Though Georgia has strengths in nanotechnology research and development, it faces significant weakness in patents and the commercialization of technology, both key elements needed for a robust nanotechnology industrial community.  That’s also true for other Southern states – and in other technologies, notes Philip Shapira, another co-author and a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

“We have growing research capabilities, but the real issue is whether we have the commercialization capabilities,” he noted.

Though Georgia has invested in developing startup companies, it’s not yet clear what role early-stage companies will play in turning nanotechnology innovations into commercial products.

“Nanotechnology is very pervasive across industry because it facilitates improvement in a broad range of products and processes,” Shapira said.  “For example, we are seeing nanoparticles and nanofibers being introduced as parts of tires, microelectronics, clothing and biomedicine.  These industries are dominated by big companies, so this may be an area where big companies have a more important role to play than startups.”

Because the nanotechnology industry is young and will likely advance through several distinct growth phases, state efforts to gain leadership still have time to pay off, Shapira says.  To take advantage of the nanotechnology revolution, he adds, Georgia will not only have to attract more venture capital for startups, but also develop linkages with well-funded companies that have the resources to bring new products to market.

“None of these are easy or automatic, but they are areas that we have to push,” he said.  “I think there is a window during which Georgia could emerge as a bigger player in nanotechnology commercialization if we can develop strategic policy action, as well as leadership on the business side.”

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Technical Contacts: Jan Youtie (404-894-6111); E-mail: (jan.youtie@innovate.gatech.edu) or Phil Shapira (404-894-7735): E-mail: (philip.shapira@pubpolicy.gatech.edu).

Writer: John ToonThe Georgia Institute of Technology ranks third in the nation for the number of nanotechnology researchers that are “highly cited” in peer-reviewed publications, and in the top ten for the number of first authors publishing in such journals.  Overall, Georgia Tech is among the nation’s top 25 institutions for National Science Foundation (NSF) nanotechnology research support, and leads the South in such key indicators as the number of nanotechnology doctoral dissertations and nanotechnology prize winners.

The statistics are contained in “Connecting the Dots: Creating a Southern Nanotechnology Network,” a study done through the Program in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy – a joint initiative of the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute and the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy – for the Southern Growth Policies Board.  Published in April 2006, the study evaluated the South’s competitive position in the budding nanotechnology industry.  The study’s research team evaluated five factors in nanotechnology – human capital, knowledge generation, research and development funding, patents and commercialization – for the period 1995-2004.

“Traditionally, the South hasn’t been viewed as having strengths in nanotechnology research, but in this study we show that there is a substantial amount going on here,” said Jan Youtie, one of the study’s co-authors and a principal research associate in the Enterprise Innovation Institute  “The big strengths are that 20 percent of all nanotechnology research publications in the United States come from the Southern region, and that four of the top 25 institutions in nanotechnology funding support are in this region.”

In addition to Georgia Tech, the other three top-25 institutions from the region are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University.  Though the collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory University has won large federal grants for studying nanotechnology in the life sciences, those awards came after the report’s study period, noted Youtie, who is also an adjunct associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

Sponsored by the Technology Transfer and Economic Development Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the study examined nanotechnology activity in 13 states – plus Puerto Rico – served by the Southern Grown Policies Board, a public policy think-tank.  Texas and Florida, two significant players in nanotechnology, are not part of the Board’s regional focus and so were not included in the study.

Within the South, the study reported that the state of Georgia ranks:

  • First in the number of nanotechnology prize winners;
  • Second in the number of nanotechnology publications;
  • Second in the number of highly cited primary researchers;
  • Second in the number of doctoral dissertations;
  • Third in the dollar value of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in nanotechnology areas;
  • Third in the number of nanotechnology patents;
  • Fourth in the dollar amount of nanotechnology-related grants from the National Science Foundation.

One of Georgia Tech’s strengths is its connections to other national and international nanotechnology research institutions.  “Part of the reason that Georgia Tech has a leading position in the South is that we have a lot of researchers who are networked outside their departments to researchers elsewhere,” Youtie explained.  “This is a strength because many research advances occur by cross-fertilization with other departments and disciplines.”

Though Georgia has strengths in nanotechnology research and development, it faces significant weakness in patents and the commercialization of technology, both key elements needed for a robust nanotechnology industrial community.  That’s also true for other Southern states – and in other technologies, notes Philip Shapira, another co-author and a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

“We have growing research capabilities, but the real issue is whether we have the commercialization capabilities,” he noted.

Though Georgia has invested in developing startup companies, it’s not yet clear what role early-stage companies will play in turning nanotechnology innovations into commercial products.

“Nanotechnology is very pervasive across industry because it facilitates improvement in a broad range of products and processes,” Shapira said.  “For example, we are seeing nanoparticles and nanofibers being introduced as parts of tires, microelectronics, clothing and biomedicine.  These industries are dominated by big companies, so this may be an area where big companies have a more important role to play than startups.”

Because the nanotechnology industry is young and will likely advance through several distinct growth phases, state efforts to gain leadership still have time to pay off, Shapira says.  To take advantage of the nanotechnology revolution, he adds, Georgia will not only have to attract more venture capital for startups, but also develop linkages with well-funded companies that have the resources to bring new products to market.

“None of these are easy or automatic, but they are areas that we have to push,” he said.  “I think there is a window during which Georgia could emerge as a bigger player in nanotechnology commercialization if we can develop strategic policy action, as well as leadership on the business side.”

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Technical Contacts: Jan Youtie (404-894-6111); E-mail: (jan.youtie@innovate.gatech.edu) or Phil Shapira (404-894-7735): E-mail: (philip.shapira@pubpolicy.gatech.edu).

Writer: John ToonThe Georgia Institute of Technology ranks third in the nation for the number of nanotechnology researchers that are “highly cited” in peer-reviewed publications, and in the top ten for the number of first authors publishing in such journals.  Overall, Georgia Tech is among the nation’s top 25 institutions for National Science Foundation (NSF) nanotechnology research support, and leads the South in such key indicators as the number of nanotechnology doctoral dissertations and nanotechnology prize winners.

The statistics are contained in “Connecting the Dots: Creating a Southern Nanotechnology Network,” a study done through the Program in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy – a joint initiative of the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute and the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy – for the Southern Growth Policies Board.  Published in April 2006, the study evaluated the South’s competitive position in the budding nanotechnology industry.  The study’s research team evaluated five factors in nanotechnology – human capital, knowledge generation, research and development funding, patents and commercialization – for the period 1995-2004.

“Traditionally, the South hasn’t been viewed as having strengths in nanotechnology research, but in this study we show that there is a substantial amount going on here,” said Jan Youtie, one of the study’s co-authors and a principal research associate in the Enterprise Innovation Institute  “The big strengths are that 20 percent of all nanotechnology research publications in the United States come from the Southern region, and that four of the top 25 institutions in nanotechnology funding support are in this region.”

In addition to Georgia Tech, the other three top-25 institutions from the region are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University.  Though the collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory University has won large federal grants for studying nanotechnology in the life sciences, those awards came after the report’s study period, noted Youtie, who is also an adjunct associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

Sponsored by the Technology Transfer and Economic Development Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the study examined nanotechnology activity in 13 states – plus Puerto Rico – served by the Southern Grown Policies Board, a public policy think-tank.  Texas and Florida, two significant players in nanotechnology, are not part of the Board’s regional focus and so were not included in the study.

Within the South, the study reported that the state of Georgia ranks:

  • First in the number of nanotechnology prize winners;
  • Second in the number of nanotechnology publications;
  • Second in the number of highly cited primary researchers;
  • Second in the number of doctoral dissertations;
  • Third in the dollar value of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in nanotechnology areas;
  • Third in the number of nanotechnology patents;
  • Fourth in the dollar amount of nanotechnology-related grants from the National Science Foundation.

One of Georgia Tech’s strengths is its connections to other national and international nanotechnology research institutions.  “Part of the reason that Georgia Tech has a leading position in the South is that we have a lot of researchers who are networked outside their departments to researchers elsewhere,” Youtie explained.  “This is a strength because many research advances occur by cross-fertilization with other departments and disciplines.”

Though Georgia has strengths in nanotechnology research and development, it faces significant weakness in patents and the commercialization of technology, both key elements needed for a robust nanotechnology industrial community.  That’s also true for other Southern states – and in other technologies, notes Philip Shapira, another co-author and a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

“We have growing research capabilities, but the real issue is whether we have the commercialization capabilities,” he noted.

Though Georgia has invested in developing startup companies, it’s not yet clear what role early-stage companies will play in turning nanotechnology innovations into commercial products.

“Nanotechnology is very pervasive across industry because it facilitates improvement in a broad range of products and processes,” Shapira said.  “For example, we are seeing nanoparticles and nanofibers being introduced as parts of tires, microelectronics, clothing and biomedicine.  These industries are dominated by big companies, so this may be an area where big companies have a more important role to play than startups.”

Because the nanotechnology industry is young and will likely advance through several distinct growth phases, state efforts to gain leadership still have time to pay off, Shapira says.  To take advantage of the nanotechnology revolution, he adds, Georgia will not only have to attract more venture capital for startups, but also develop linkages with well-funded companies that have the resources to bring new products to market.

“None of these are easy or automatic, but they are areas that we have to push,” he said.  “I think there is a window during which Georgia could emerge as a bigger player in nanotechnology commercialization if we can develop strategic policy action, as well as leadership on the business side.”

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Technical Contacts: Jan Youtie (404-894-6111); E-mail: (jan.youtie@innovate.gatech.edu) or Phil Shapira (404-894-7735): E-mail: (philip.shapira@pubpolicy.gatech.edu).

Writer: John Toon


Nanotechnology Impact: Georgia Tech Joins New NSF Center to Study Societal Implications of the New Technology

Recent research into the environmental fate of carbon nanotubes has underscored what until now has been a little-discussed aspect of nanotechnology – its potential societal implications.

To evaluate those implications and inform the resulting public policy debate, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have joined with colleagues at six other U.S. institutions to form the Center for Nanotechnology in Society.  Headquartered at Arizona State University, the new center has so far received more than $6 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

“Many experts think that nanotechnology is a fundamental and general technology that could have very widespread implications throughout society,” noted Philip Shapira, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy and a key contributor to the center.  “Nanotechnology has the capability to not only radically change products and processes, but also to lead to both desirable and undesirable societal outcomes.  We had better pay attention not only to research on the applications, but also to the potential social implications.”

Beyond the potential environmental impact of nanotechnology, policymakers will have to consider health-related issues, as well as the legal, ethical, economic, employment and competitiveness issues involved.

To do that, they’ll need an understanding of how and where nanotechnology may be developing.  Georgia Tech’s contribution to the center will be in predicting where the field is headed, how nanotechnology might diverge and what its applications might be – through the production of real-time technology assessments.

“As the technology develops, we are going to provide information on nanotechnology system dynamics to help scientists, decision-makers, business leaders, policy officials and other community stakeholders make societal assessments in real-time,” Shapira explained.  “There are already a number of startup companies working in nano, and a number of big companies that are incorporating nanotechnology into products.  From looking at the applications that researchers and companies are pursuing, we want to get an edge on the societal issues.”

For instance, nanotechnology will likely spawn new industries – and make certain existing industries obsolete.  Having a well-developed nanotechnology infrastructure may give countries a competitive edge.

“China is now the second largest publisher in the nanotechnology domain,” Shapira noted.  “The idea that China is a low-wage threat to manufacturing – which is what people tend to think today – may be replaced by the realization that China is emerging as a major research and technology power.  This could potentially be a big issue for the United States, Japan and Europe.”

Beyond the School of Public Policy, researchers from the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Economics, College of Management and Enterprise Innovation Institute will also contribute to the new center’s work – and collaborate with scientists and engineers who are developing the new technology.

“We want to engage the physical scientists as well as the social scientists on this campus,” Shapira added.  “This will be a unique and important collaboration.”

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Technical Contact: Phil Shapira (404-894-7735): E-mail: (philip.shapira@pubpolicy.gatech.edu).

Writer: John Toon

 

Study Shows That Attracting Retirees to Georgia Makes Economic Development Sense

Georgia has considerable potential to realize economic development gains from attracting retirees, but it lags behind neighboring states in doing so, according to a study completed earlier this year by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute for the Georgia Rural Economic Development Center at East Georgia College.

“While Georgia ranked sixth nationally in the total number of in-migrating retirees from 1995 to 2000, (it) had a net loss of retirees to Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina,” said the study’s report.  “Further development of housing options along with coordinated marketing of the viability of Georgia as a retirement destination can reverse the negative trend with these three neighboring states.”

Capturing market share in the senior-housing arena requires multidisciplinary approaches to address regulatory, policy, infrastructure and other issues, but – according to researchers – the benefits are “enormous,” especially given the coming surge of retiring baby boomers.  “With Georgia ranking in the top 10 of states attracting retirees,” they reported, “it is not unreasonable to expect that it could, with proper attention to policy changes, improve its share of the retirement services market to a projected 10 percent.”

What does that mean economically?  According to the research, with a 10 percent share of the market in continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and active adult retirement communities (AARC), Georgia would see sizable gains in jobs and revenues.  For example, jobs related to CCRCs would increase by some 2,700, with each of the smallest regions gaining about 200 industry-related jobs.

Net state revenue for the industry’s expansion would be $6.43 million, and net local government revenues would rise by $2.5 million.  With AARCs, total jobs would increase by approximately 28,000, and even the smallest rural region would see an additional 1,000 jobs.  Net state revenue would increase by $82 million and local government revenues by $31 million.

Two keys to success of both CCRC and AARC development, according to the study, are having sufficient capital for predevelopment work (e.g. market assessment, site location) and knowing building requirements and pricing for the prospective market and its particular needs.

The report stated that several rural and suburban communities in Georgia can position themselves to reap significant economic, health care, and quality-of-seniors-housing benefits.  “We’re at the beginning of what can be a tsunami of health care and elder care economic opportunity,” said Georgia Tech’s Rick Duke of the study.

The project team included East Georgia College, Georgia Southern University, and Georgia State University, in addition to Georgia Tech.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of the Enterprise Innovation Institute newsletter Focus on Communities.

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:
The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (john.toon@innovate.gatech.edu).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright