New research center established

Following in the pattern of increased interdisciplinary research, Tech is launching the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT). Executive Vice President for Research Steve Cross announced the launch as an extension of the goals of the strategic plan, specifically the second stated goal of to “Sustain and Enhance Excellence in Scholarship and Research.”
According to Cross, IPaT will create an innovation crossroads where Tech faculty, students, industry partners, government partners and other stakeholders can meet to co-innovate, collaborate and pave the road for Tech research that addresses complex societal challenges.
“IPaT will focus on engaging the Tech community and our external partners in far-reaching leadership goals through its investment in unique research platforms, through our living laboratories and datasets, through partnership with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and through alignment with the many ongoing research activities on campus,” Cross said.
Led by Executive Director Beth Mynatt, a College of Computing professor and former director of the GVU Center, or Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center, the new institute will support numerous research centers that lead research activities in a variety of subjects and topics, including healthcare, education, consumer media and other complex human enterprises, by integrating advances in human-centered computing, architectural and digital design, policy and system science and engineering.
“I’m thrilled that [Mynatt] has agreed to lead the Institute for People and Technology,” Cross said. “Her vast understanding of the complexities inherent in today’s social and business institutions and the transformative role of technology in those enterprises is a critical foundation for this new institute.”
Mynatt stressed during a GVU Center Townhall Meeting on Feb. 3 that the endeavor would be collaborative and interdisciplinary, including a variety of research centers from around campus. Her emphasis is to cooperate with existing centers to create a support system that can lead to further innovation.
“It’s very much an experiment, in a way, of us working together,” Mynatt said. “The big picture for IPaT is transforming human enterprises, such as the future of the healthcare industry. The emphasis within that is that Tech, as a whole, has the expertise to have a very strong leadership role in determining what these industries could become, both in terms of projections and in terms of innovations. What IPaT represents is an opportunity to put all of that together.”
The mandates of IPaT will be accomplished by consolidating several existing research firms around campus. The centers that will be involved in this endeavor include the Tennenbaum Institute, the College of Computing’s GVU Center, the College of Architecture’s Center for Music Technology, the Interactive Media Technology Center, the College of Architecture’s Digital Building Laboratory, the Ivan Allen Institute for Advanced Studies, the Center for 21st Century Universities and others. Every college at Tech is represented by at least one research center. As a result of the interdisciplinary representatives, Mynatt desires to foster a sense of growth and community within the IPaT.
“What is being done within IPaT is in very deep and long-lasting respect [to] the GVU Center and the other centers,” Mynatt said. “[Our purpose] is very much about making that group and other groups successful but through the lens of this new mission about transforming and enterprise. There will always be this entrepreneurial spirit here at Tech, where people are trying to create new things.”
Mynatt will be assisted in leadership by Deputy Director Jeff Evans, deputy director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Information and Communications Laboratory, as well as Ron Hutchins, Chief Tech Officer of OIT; Bill Rouse, ISyE Professor and Renu Kulkarni, Principal Research Associate at GTRI. With this leadership team, Mynatt hopes to lead Tech to the forefront of innovative practices in the world.
“Tech has always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” Mynatt said. “We want to bring together all of these resources we already have to create a catalyst for this transformative type of work.”

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