Talent: The bedrock of GRA's efforts

Helping Georgia’s universities recruit superstar researchers is the bedrock of GRA’s programs and initiatives. Everything else is built on this effort.

By bringing some of the brightest minds in science and technology to Georgia — and supporting their research while here — GRA helps universities:

  • Attract more federal and private research grants. Approximately $1 out of every $4 in private and public research funding is awarded to the 72 GRA Eminent Scholars and their teams (which comprise just 5% of the universities’ research workforce).
  • Generate more discoveries and inventions. This added output drives the launch of more products and companies, creating an entirely new cycle of ROI.
  • Enrich Georgia’s academic reputation. Talent begets talent: Having top researchers on campus strengthens each university’s recruitment of other scientists. And GRA’s program has helped Georgia climb the rankings of R&D funding: As of 2023, the state ranks 8th in the U.S. in R&D funding, according to the National Science Foundation.

Three categories of star talent

To stay agile in recruiting and efficient with resources, GRA recruits and retains three kinds of top researchers:

  • GRA Eminent Scholars are recruited to Georgia in permanently endowed chairs (supported by a minimum 1-to-1 match of private funds). As GRA’s flagship program, the Eminent Scholars hold the rank of professor and are widely regarded as leaders in their field of science and technology, based on criteria such as contributions to the field and recognition for their work.
  • GRA Senior Fellows meet the same eligibility requirements as Eminent Scholars, though the chairs they hold may not be permanently endowed. Each Senior Fellow leads a major research enterprise at a GRA member university.
  • GRA Distinguished Investigators are also recruited to Georgia; they too hold permanently endowed chairs. Their research is deemed to have strong market potential through licensing or a startup company. Distinguished Investigators hold the academic rank of assistant or associate professor.

Collectively, these three categories comprise GRA’s Academy of Scientists.