Georgia Tech is leading the way, graduating the most female engineers in the nation, but the College of Engineering is not resting on its success. Its incoming freshman class this fall will have close to 30 percent women. Two of Georgia Tech’s engineering programs, biomedical and environmental, both have more than 50 percent women.
Despite the success, Georgia Tech Dean of Engineering Gary May knows the Institute can do more.
“Right now we have a lot of work to do to build awareness and provide a support system for our women students as well as for our faculty, for that matter,” said May, who hosted a media roundtable in Washington, D.C. to discuss the challenges and success stories involved with attracting women to the STEM fields.
“I think the most critical aspect of what we’re doing is bringing awareness of the issues,” said May. “As an institution in a leadership position in the production of women engineers and scientists, it is our responsibility to get the word out about how important this is to the rest of the nation.”
The roundtable, held on Capitol Hill, highlighted a discussion of thought leaders from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, IBM and Caterpillar; representatives from academia; and recent alumni. Panelists shared their personal stories about overcoming obstacles, how they developed their own career in a STEM field as well as shared what their employers are doing to encourage women in the STEM fields.
“I’m an engineer. I’ve had a terrific career and really enjoyed what I’ve done and the types of problems you can bring your toolset to solve,” said Patricia Falcone from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and a roundtable panelist. “When I went to school, it was kind of the early days for women going into engineering. What surprises me is that the numbers haven’t gone up. We know that having mixed and diverse teams really enables creativity and good solutions.”
“I believe the number one issue with girls and women in technical fields is confidence or lack of confidence,” said Susan Puglia, vice president of IBM’s Global University Programs and vice chair of IBM’s Academy of Technology board of governors. “Building that confidence early on as girls are going through middle school, high school and even college, as well as into the workforce, is so important.”
Puglia says that IBM and other companies have programs designed to support their female workforce.
“We’ve been focused on some programs at IBM on teaching women what computing and engineering is all about," she said. "In the workforce, it takes the form of coaches or sponsorships to help them progress and do well in their fields.
The media roundtables are an example of a collaborative effort between Georgia Tech’s Office of Government and Community Relations, College of Engineering, Office of Development and Institute Communications.
“Policymakers in Washington, D.C. are very concerned about the STEM crisis in our country and the impact it’s having on our competitiveness,” said Robert Knotts, Georgia Tech’s director of Federal Relations. "As the producer of more engineers than any other university in the country, it’s important that Georgia Tech lead the discussion about how we can get more girls and women engaged in engineering. We were thrilled to hear from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (the ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee) and from our distinguished panel of experts about what we can all do to encourage and support female engineers.”
“This collaborative effort was possible because we had the support of so many units across campus,” said Matt Nagel, director of media relations. “Media roundtables give us a unique opportunity to raise Georgia Tech’s profile among many of its key audiences on a national level including media, congressional staff and other influencers in the D.C. area.”
Georgia Tech media relations team is working on several upcoming media roundtables, but Nagel says they are always looking for good ideas from the units across campus.
“Each roundtable is different. The Women in Engineering roundtable was targeted toward congressional staff and higher education reporters. In the future, we may take a more specific topic and have a much more intimate group setting.”]]>
The NIST grants, which range from $378,900 to $540,000, were part of $9 million in advanced technology planning grants awarded to 19 universities and other nonprofit organizations and are the first conferred by NIST’s inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech).
Todd McDevitt, associate professor, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center, will serve as the technical lead for the $499,636 AMTech grant awarded to the Georgia Research Alliance, in partnership with Georgia Tech. With cell therapy manufacturing projected to grow rapidly over the next decade, the funds will be used to establish a national road map and consortium in cell manufacturing to improve access to cutting-edge medical technology for patients.
Ben Wang, executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, will serve as the lead for a second AMTech grant totaling $385,112 that will help speed development and deployment of advanced composites.
Georgia Tech’s Institute of Paper Science and Technology, part of the Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance, is a collaborator on the $482,078 NIST funded project that will map pathways for developing advanced technologies for pulp and paper manufacturing. The Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance is an industry-led consortium that promotes development of advanced technologies for the pulp and paper industry.
Tom Kurfess, professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control, is part of a $434,577 award led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining focused on developing a strategy and roadmap to identify current barriers to full adoption of MTConnect, an evolving interoperability standard for manufacturing. The funding will also determine the best path forward to achieve widespread implementation across manufacturing industries.
Technology road mapping is a key component of all funded AMTech projects. Each consortium will engage manufacturers of all sizes, university researchers, trade associations and other stakeholders in an interactive process to identify and prioritize research projects that reduce shared barriers to the growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States.
Georgia Tech is a national leader in research, education, policy and industrial assistance related to manufacturing. President G.P. “Bud” Peterson serves on the Steering Committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute runs the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for the state of Georgia (http://gamep.org/).
The NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant, entitled “Research Experience for Student Veterans in Advanced Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship (REVAMP),” will provide technical training, entrepreneurship and research experience for 10 students each summer. The students will learn the latest manufacturing techniques as well as how to work with the new technologies. They will work side by side with world-class researchers and business leaders in additive manufacturing, precision machining, scalable manufacturing and sustainable design and manufacturing.
“This program will leverage GTMI’s world-class facilities, diverse technical expertise and inspiring interdisciplinary research environment,” said Chuck Zhang, the principal investigator of the grant, and a professor in Georgia Tech’s Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and GTMI. “It will provide a great opportunity for transitioning veterans and underrepresented minority students to learn the latest manufacturing techniques that can give them hands on experience and prepare them for the workforce in manufacturing.”
In addition, the curriculum will also include an entrepreneurship component that will allow students to learn firsthand from experts at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute as well as startup leaders at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).
The program is currently recruiting students nationwide and hopes to attract transitioning military veterans as well as underrepresented minorities to participate.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity,” said John Morehouse, Director of Manufacturing Programs and Partnerships at GTMI, and co-principal investigator for REVAMP. “This type of program can truly be transforming for the students. It can open their eyes to other possibilities for a career path and even show them the possibilities of starting their own business.”
Students will be required to be in Atlanta for the summer. Each student will be provided support for travel expenses, a $5,000 stipend, and on-campus housing. The program is set to begin on May 27, 2014.
Those interested can find additional information at http://manufacturing.gatech.edu/revamp-nsf-reu.]]>
The Institute’s College of Engineering ranked No. 6 and all 11 of the programs within the college are ranked in the top 10, including industrial engineering (No. 1), biomedical and bioengineering (No. 2), environmental (No. 4), civil (No. 5), aerospace (No. 5), mechanical (No. 5), electrical (No. 6), computer (No. 7), nuclear (No. 8), materials (No. 9) and chemical (No. 10). Georgia Tech appears on the top 10 list of engineering specialties more than any other ranked institution.
"Georgia Tech's strong rankings with U.S. News & World Report year after year reflect the Institute's ongoing commitment to excellence in research and teaching, as well as a legacy of preparing innovators and leaders," said Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson.
The Institute tied for the No. 9 spot in overall computer science rankings, coming in No. 6 in both systems and artificial intelligence and No. 8 in theory.
Georgia Tech moved from No. 26 to No. 24 in overall chemistry rankings and up to No. 29 in overall physics rankings. In discrete mathematics and combinatorics, the Institute moved up four spots to No. 4.
The Scheller College of Business full-time MBA program ranked No. 27, while the Institute’s part-time MBA program ranked No. 20, moving up from the No. 24 spot in 2014.]]>
The Institute’s College of Engineering ranked No. 4 for the eighth consecutive year and all eleven of the programs within the college are ranked in the top 10 including industrial engineering (No. 1), biomedical and bioengineering (No. 2), civil (No. 3), aerospace (No. 4), electrical (No. 5), nuclear (No. 5), environmental (No. 6), computer (No. 6), mechanical (No. 6), materials (No. 7) and chemical (No. 10).
“All of Georgia Tech’s graduate engineering programs are ranked in the top ten in the nation. We’re proud that our College of Engineering is not only one of the best in the U.S., but also the largest, preparing nearly 3,000 graduates each year,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson. “We commend our outstanding faculty, staff and students who helped make this a reality.”
Georgia Tech appears on the top 10 list of engineering specialties more than any other ranked institution.
The Georgia Tech College of Management full-time MBA program ranked No. 32, while the Institute’s part-time MBA program ranked No. 28.]]>
To help answer those questions, researchers, policy-makers and R&D directors study patent maps, which provide a visual representation of where universities, companies and other organizations are protecting intellectual property produced by their research. But finding real trends in these maps can be difficult because categories with large numbers of patents – pharmaceuticals, for instance – are usually treated the same as areas with few patents.
Now, a new patent mapping system that considers how patents cite one another may help researchers better understand the relationships between technologies – and how they may come together to spur disruptive new areas of innovation. The system, which also categorizes patents in a new way, was produced by a team of researchers from three universities and an Atlanta-based producer of data-mining software.
“What we are trying to do is forecast innovation pathways,” said Alan Porter, professor emeritus in the School of Public Policy and the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the project’s principal investigator. “We take data on research and development, such as publications and patents, and we try to elicit some intelligence to help us gain a sense for where things are headed.”
Patent maps for major corporations can show where those firms plan to diversify, or conversely, where their technological weaknesses are. Looking at a nation’s patent map might also suggest areas where R&D should be expanded to support new areas of innovation, or to fill gaps that may hinder economic growth, he said.
Innovation often occurs at the intersection of major technology sectors, noted Jan Youtie, director of policy research services in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. Studying the relationships between different areas can help suggest where the innovation is occurring and what technologies are fueling it. Patent maps can also show how certain disciplines evolve.
“You can see where the portfolio is, and how it is changing,” explained Youtie, who is also an adjunct associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. “In the case of nanotechnology, for example, you can see that most of the patents are in materials and physics, though over time the number of patents in the bio-nano area is growing.”
The patent mapping research, which was supported by the National Science Foundation, will be described in a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). In addition to Youtie and Porter, the research was conducted by former Georgia Tech graduate student Luciano Kay, now a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California Santa Barbara.
“The goal for this research was to create a new type of global patent map that was not tied into existing patent classification systems,” Kay said. “We also wanted an approach that would classify patents into categories or clusters in a graphical representation of interrelated technologies even though they may be located in different sections and levels of the standard patent classification.”
The International Patent Classification (IPC) system is based on a hierarchy of eight top-level classes such as “human necessity” and “electricity.” Patent applications are further classified into 600 or so sub-classes beneath the top-level classes.
Critics note that the IPC brings together technologies such as drugs and hats under the “human necessity” class -- technologies that are not really closely related. The system also puts technologies that are closely related – pharmaceuticals and organic chemistry, for instance – into different classes.
The new Patent Overlay Mapping system does away with this hierarchy, and instead considers the similarity between technologies by noting connections between patents – which ones are cited by other patents.
“We completely disaggregated the patient classification system and looked at all the categories with at least a thousand patents,” Youtie explained. “We think our map gets closer to measuring the ideas of technological similarity and distance.”
Maps produced by the system provide visual information relating the distances between technologies. The maps can also highlight the density of patenting activity, showing where investments are being made. And they can show gaps where future R&D investments may be needed to provide connections between related technologies.
The researchers produced a series of patent maps by applying their new system to 760,000 patent records filed in the European Patent Office between 2000 and 2006. The data came from the PatStat database, and was analyzed using a variety of tools, including the VantagePoint software developed by Search Technology of Norcross, along with Georgia Tech and Intelligent Information Services Corporation.
One surprise in the work was the interdisciplinary nature of many of the 35 patent factors the researchers identified. For instance, the classification “vehicles” included six of the eight sections defined by the IPC system. Only five of the 35 factors were confined to a single section, Youtie said.
Because the researchers adopted a new classification system, other researchers wanting to follow their approach will have use a thesaurus that translates existing IPC classes to the new system. That conversion system is available online.
In addition to those already mentioned, the research team also included Ismael Rafols of Universitat Politecnica de Valencia in Spain and Nils Newman of Intelligent Information Services Corp.
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (Award No. 0531194) and NSF Award No. 1064146. The research was also undertaken in collaboration with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, University of California Santa Barbara (NSF Awards No. 0938099 and No. 0531184). The findings and observations contained in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.
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