Each institution has its own research thrust area that represents a long-term strategic interest to NASA and the nation, according to NASA. Georgia Tech will draw on its considerable expertise in aerospace engineering to focus on aeropropulsion and power technologies.
"This is a tremendous success and opportunity for Georgia Tech," said Jean-Lou Chameau, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Georgia Tech, who will serve as the NASA institute's senior research officer. "It attests to the amazing quality and work of our aerospace engineering faculty and students, as well as to the continuous support we receive from the State and our industrial and federal partners in this critical area."
The mission of the Institute is to develop revolutionary technologies and design methods that will bridge important technology gaps that will lead to the development of revolutionary engine components and systems.
The primary role of each of the university-based institutes will be to perform research and development that not only develops leading edge technologies and increases fundamental understanding of phenomena, but also moves fundamental advances from scientific discovery to basic technology that could be used in future engines.
The institutes also will provide support for undergraduate and graduate students, curriculum development, personnel exchange, learning opportunities and training in advanced scientific and engineering concepts for the aerospace workforce in government and industry.
The announcement was made by the Office of Aerospace Technology at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the Department of Defense Research and Engineering Office.
Although the Institute will be based at Georgia Tech, other universities have entered into an agreement with Georgia Tech to create a team arrangement. With Georgia Tech as the lead institution, researchers will work closely with colleagues at Ohio State University, Florida A&M University, and Case Western Reserve University.
The Georgia Tech institute will work to develop a wide range of innovative propulsion and power technologies, said Ben T. Zinn, a Regents Professor in aerospace and mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, who will serve as director of the new NASA institute.
These technologies, Zinn said, will enable NASA and industry to produce engines that meet highly restrictive environmental regulations, burn less fuel, reduce global warming, improve safety and possess lower acquisition and operating costs.
The institute will also pursue technology transfer opportunities, aggressively seeking to transition its most promising technologies to industry for implementation in current and future engines.
According to Zinn, "Winning this institute positions Georgia Tech as the premier educational and research university in the country in air breathing propulsion. Furthermore, the presence of this institute on our campus will create exciting opportunities for our faculty and students for collaboration with NASA, DoD and industry on the development of promising engine concepts and technologies."
The seven institutes are called "University Research, Engineering and Technology Institutes" (URETI).
Also announced by NASA, three professors in Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering - Professor Suresh Menon and associates professors John Olds and Jerry Seitzman - will work as a team to support the NASA institute led by the University of Florida that is focusing on third generation reusable launch vehicles.
The complete list of universities selected for negotiation of cooperative agreements with NASA as collaborative URETI partners are:
- Georgia Institute of Technology, for aeropropulsion and power;
- University of Florida, Gainesville, and the University of Maryland, College Park, for third generation reusable launch vehicles;
- University of California, Los Angeles, for bio-nano-information technology fusion;
- Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., and Texas A&M University, College Station, for bio-nanotechnology materials and structures for aerospace vehicles;
- Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., for nanoelectronics and computing.
Each cooperative agreement has an initial five-year period of performance and a maximum possible duration of ten years at approximately $3 million per year. The award of each cooperative agreement is expected in August 2002.