Town Hall Reflects on Successes, Looks to the Future

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Town Hall Reflects on Successes, Looks to the Future

Alyson Powell
February 17, 2016
IPaT held its yearly Spring Town Hall meeting last month to discuss strategic research priorities and faculty opportunities. IPaT Director Beth Mynatt opened the town hall with a look at recent achievements by our faculty and staff.

IPaT researchers were awarded one of six Innovation in Data Engineering and Science (IDEAS) grants from Georgia Tech’s Office of the Executive Vice President of Research to help define research in the future High Performance Computing Building in Tech Square. Mynatt, along with Rahul Basole, Julie Swann, Nicoleta Serban, Paul Griffin, May Wang, Myung Choi, Leanne West, Mark Braunstein, and Margaret Wagner-Dahl received the grant in September for “Analytics for Transforming Health and Healthcare.”

“I'm excited that IPaT is driving this conversation in many ways,” said Mynatt. "Driven by a vision of how healthcare delivery will be transformed by data science and engineering, the team is creating software infrastructure to support the research community, exploring new avenues for research funding, and facilitating collaborations with new industry partners."

Other highlights include:

    - Georgia Tech and Georgia State University are partnering with the City of Atlanta as founding members in the MetroLab Network, part of the Obama Administration’s “Smart Cities” initiative to help communities tackle local challenges and improve city services.

    - As part of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control, Georgia Tech researchers will collaborate with Emory and Georgia State to discover new methods for protecting patients and health care workers from highly infectious diseases like Ebola.

    - Led by Ashok Goel and Betty Whittaker and funded through a GVU/IPaT/GTRI engagement grant, faculty have been meeting regularly to discuss research challenges and strategies for leadership in cognitive systems.

    - Georgia Tech informed the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on Aging and Technology. The report was passed unanimously at the PCAST meeting in January and included recommendations informed by the research of Wendy Rogers, Brian Jones, Brad Fain, Charlie Kemp, Jon Sanford and Beth Mynatt. The final report will be published soon.

    - IPaT submitted major research proposals to the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health on pediatric healthcare delivery, human augmentation, and aging in place.
Mynatt said of the aging in place proposal, “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to create aging in place infrastructure for the entire country.”

She also discussed three newly-named Interdisciplinary Research Centers that are tied to IPaT: the Center for Urban Innovation, the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems, and the GVU Center. IRCs bring together researchers from different disciplines to address topics of strategic importance to Georgia Tech, but may have a shorter life cycle than Interdisciplinary Research Institutes. 

“It’s exciting to grow out our network, grow out our leadership, and grow out our impact on campus,” said Mynatt.

IPaT unveiled a new website last Fall, as well as our Research Digest, a bi-annual collection of summaries from a selected set of our faculty publications.

Each year, IPaT also collaborates with several community partners to offer seed grants to Georgia Tech faculty.

    - Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, with partners at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Morehouse School of Medicine offer an annual research pilot program that is aligned with the aims of the Pediatric Research Centers. These pilot award funds are designed to stimulate new research projects and build new collaborations in child health-related research areas.

    - The GVU Center provides seed grants, with funding support from IPaT, to research initiatives committed to building on our success in interdisciplinary research and innovation in the human experience of computing. Research Grants provide seed funding to conduct interdisciplinary research. The objective of the Research Grant program is to promote research activities involving faculty and students from the many disciplines represented in the GVU Center. Engagement Grants are designed to foster new sorts of engagements and collaboration, whether internally or externally.

    - The CDC/Georgia Tech Research Awards provide funding to foster scientific collaboration among Georgia Tech and CDC investigators. The award program supports pilot research in the form of proof of concept and feasibility projects that will advance the state of the science to facilitate scientific innovation, new external funding and novel collaborative relationships. 

To find out more about these funding opportunities, including previous awardees, visit our website. In the coming months we’ll provide more information about available opportunities and how to apply.

The town hall concluded with breakout groups on three of IPaT’s strategic priorities: Smart Communities, Pediatric Healthcare, and Wearable Computing. Attendees discussed current research projects, “dream” projects for the future, and potential stakeholders.

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