Georgia Tech Wins Commerce Department Grant to Develop AI Manufacturing Economic Corridor


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The Georgia Institute of Technology was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) as part of its $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Georgia Tech is one of 60 entities to be awarded funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to accelerate the rebuilding of their economies in the wake of the pandemic.

As a leader in artificial intelligence, manufacturing research, and innovation-led economic development, Georgia Tech will utilize the grant for technical assistance to plan the Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Corridor (GA-AIM). Led by Thomas Kurfess and Aaron Stebner in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and in collaboration with local partners, GA-AIM will fill existing technology gaps, build a technological opportunity framework that includes underrepresented communities and rural Georgia counties, and better secure the state’s manufacturing infrastructure.

Georgia Tech’s partners in the effort include the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, Spelman College, the Technical College System of Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“We are truly honored to be awarded this grant to implement our vision for manufacturing excellence in Georgia with our partners in artificial intelligence research,” said Chaouki T. Abdallah, executive vice president for Research at Georgia Tech. “Alongside these important partners, the grant enables us to collaborate to include diverse backgrounds and perspectives in the process of learning, discovery, and creation, furthering Georgia Tech’s mission to expand access.” 

Georgia Tech and its partners will pair artificial intelligence and manufacturing research innovation to better secure the manufacturing ecosystem, expand opportunity to distressed and rural communities and underrepresented groups, and support business growth across the state.

“We are thrilled to help communities work together — in coalitions of government, nonprofits, academia, the private sector, and others — to craft ambitious and regionally unique plans to rebuild their communities,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, assistant secretary of commerce for the EDA. “These projects will help revitalize local economies and tackle our biggest challenges related to climate change, manufacturing, supply chains, and more. EDA is proud to ignite these plans and help communities nationwide build back better.”

GA-AIM’s partners have created a complementary network of resources that focus on each partner organization’s expertise and mission.

“We have an opportunity to create meaningful impact at the intersection of AI and manufacturing,” said Stebner, who wrote the grant proposal that resulted in the $500,000 grant from EDA.

Kurfess, who serves as the regional economic competitiveness officer for the grant, added, “Bringing together AI and manufacturing will ensure a strong manufacturing base for Georgia that will leverage our well-trained workforce and our strong educational institutions that are participating in this effort. What excites me the most is that AI will augment our workforce, making it more valuable and productive, ensuring job growth for Georgia and the U.S. well into the future.”

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