Bringing Value to Boeing

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With more than $25 million in new awards granted to Georgia Tech researchers and faculty over the past five years, Boeing has made a huge impact on research activity. Therefore, Georgia Tech researchers want to make sure they are on track for meeting the needs of this important supporter. On Oct. 17-18, the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute hosted nearly 30 Boeing R&D and manufacturing representatives for the annual Georgia Tech – Boeing Strategic University Partnership Program Review.

“This is a really important partnership for Georgia Tech,” said Dr. Steve Cross, Executive Vice President for Research, Georgia Tech. “We are trying to work on the Georgia Tech culture so that we are an industry-friendly research university.”

Cross explained that the university has streamlined its contracting system to enable industry to more easily engage Georgia Tech researchers. Georgia Tech has put in place four contract mechanisms including Basic Research, Applied Research, Demonstration and Specialized Training. The goal is to offer various levels of assistance at all stages of R&D.

According to Rob Stoker, Boeing Senior Manager, Collaboration, this has been a good move. “We are focusing a lot on the transition from R&D to production,” he explained. “We need to make sure that we are communicating our needs to drive the research. The contract instruments you were talking about, [Steve] are a big part of that.”

Don Mottaz, Director of Assembly and Integration, Boeing Research and Technology, reiterated Stoker’s thought. “This relationship is going to be very important moving forward for many reasons including, obviously, competition reasons,” he said. “We need to easily put in place contracts and in the long term, we want you to be a partner for us. This [process] is really key and the partnership will help us build exciting new products and accelerate innovation.”

Results of this win-win partnership were highlighted throughout the 1.5-day program. Principal Investigator Dr. Shreyes Melkote, Associate Director of GTMI, kicked off the meeting by explaining that this strategic partnership focuses on basic and applied research to produce “next generation manufacturing technologies, including design and materials.”

Ongoing projects in the variation analysis and hardware and software integration arenas, were highlighted on the first day. The Boeing visitors also participated in tours of the GTMI Boeing Lab, Wind Tunnel Lab, and the Techway Robotics Lab. Some were even allowed to operate the latest in crane technology during one of the lab visits. 

The program also promoted student work. On the first day, 13 students participated in a lunch-time poster session. Students are a key part of this program, according to Stoker, who reported that the company has hired 30 Georgia Tech students throughout the program. In fact, since 2011, the program has generated 25 PhD students, 21 master’s students, 18 undergrads, and two post-docs.

“We try to leverage the strengths that we have at Georgia Tech, and match those to the needs at Boeing,” said Dr. Melkote. “And most importantly, you recruit the product we make best – our students.”


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Tracy Heath
  • Created:11/11/2013
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016


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