Growing the Georgia economy since 1990

GRA`s first meeting of the Board of Trustees in 1990. Today as then, the board has representatives from the public, private, academic and nonprofit sectors.
The beginnings of the Georgia Research Alliance can be traced west from its Atlanta headquarters to Austin, Texas.

In 1983, the State of Georgia failed to win a headquarters bid for Microelectronics Computer and Technology Corporation, a large industry consortium seeking a place to develop the next generation of semiconductor technology. The consortium was located in Austin, where it jump-started the city’s fledgling technology industry and established a high-tech hub.

The critical factor in Austin’s win: a public-private partnership that combined government resources and private sector energy and creativity. Georgia quickly realized the benefits of having a privately run technology alliance that could leverage state dollars to expand university research capacity.

In 1990, a group of Georgia leaders established the Georgia Research Alliance as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization to allow business, research universities, and state government to collaborate to build a technology-driven economy fueled by breakthrough university research. The late Lawrence L. Gellerstedt, Jr. – who had chaired the Georgia Research Consortium, the state’s early attempt at a technology authority, in the 1980s – was named chair of GRA.

The plan was to attract some of the world’s most brilliant scientists to establish new programs of research and development at affiliated Georgia research universities. The focus would be in areas with the most potential for generating new companies and creating new science and technology jobs.

The cadre of scientists, named GRA Eminent Scholars®, would:
  • compete successfully for a larger share of federal and foundation research funds
  • attract other talented faculty and graduate students to Georgia
  • foster new companies and create relationships with industry to commercialize technologies developed through research
Today, GRA is an internationally acclaimed model for unifying business, research universities, and state government to create and sustain a vibrant, technology-rich economy for the state.

The Alliance’s affiliated research institutions are: One of GRA’s most important accomplishments has been bringing together the state’s research institutions to foster cross-university research, which is often critical when competing for federal research funding. Presidents of each university sit on GRA’s board, along with prominent leaders in government and industry.
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