Robert McGrath named GTRI director

Dr. Robert McGrath will begin his position as Vice President and Director of Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) on Feb. 1. Most recently, McGrath served as a consultant on National Laboratory/University Partnerships, STEM Education and Race to the Top initiatives for Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio.
“Tech and GTRI both enjoy tremendously strong national and international reputations. When I was contacted about the opportunity at GTRI, I was immediately very enthusiastic,” McGrath said.
McGrath’s past work experience includes philanthropic work at the Batelle Memorial Institute, positions at Pennsylvania State University and Ohio State University, work within the Department of Energy and extensive research on magnetism. McGrath has a wide range of experience through his interdisciplinary research and work in many different fields.
“As a younger faculty member and scientist, I enjoyed many productive years of research working on magnetic fusion energy and microelectronics manufacturing,” McGrath said. “I’ve migrated to supporting the much broader research agendas of major universities and national laboratories, and have found great satisfaction in helping to provide the unique laboratories, equipment and infrastructure that enable the success of hundreds and hundreds of researchers in a variety of disciplines.”
Kirk Englehardt, director of GTRI Communications, believes that McGrath’s personal passions align with those of GTRI.
“McGrath has a positive commitment to forming strong bonds,” Englehardt said.
Since May 1, 2010, interim director Tom McDermott has filled the position that McGrath is now beginning. Stephen Cross, who was promoted to Executive Vice President of Research, held this position prior to McDermott’s interim period. During the past nine months, McDermott has worked and developed new projects such as the new lab that focuses on cyber-security started in Oct., a joint project with the College of Computing. Another project GTRI has begun to work with is its participation with the FutureMedia Fest, which Tech hosted this past Oct.. GTRI has been growing speedily as it has hired about 300 people over the last three years.
As McDermott makes his transition back to his original job as Deputy Director of GTRI, he believes that a steady, rather than rapid, growth in GTRI would be beneficial. Similarly, McDermott agrees that GTRI should strengthen faculty bonds.
“We should increase and improve relationships with the academic faculty. We pursue joint research and should continue to do so,” McDermott said. “GTRI definitely aims to build stronger relationships among Tech’s academic faculty and students.”
Currently, 325 Tech students are on GTRI payroll, while other Tech academic faculties are looking to participate in joint research projects with GTRI. Students in majors ranging from ME to PUBP have had the opportunity to work with GTRI in computer programming, mechanical design and policy analysis.

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