The Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) was chartered on April 13, 1937, as the Industrial Development council, a state chartered not-for-profit corporation serving Georgia Tech as a University System of Georgia-approved cooperative organization. The stated objective was to “stimulate industrial development, to promote the fullest utilization of natural resources, and to foster research invention and discovery so as to provide a constantly improving technique in that behalf.” The founders were Preston S. Arkwright, Fuller E. Callaway, Jr., and Monie A. Ferst. In 1946 the name was changed to the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and in 1984 to the Georgia Tech Research Corporation.
Since 1946, GTRC has served as a “university-connected research foundation,” one of approximately one hundred located at state universities throughout the country. These foundations are organized primarily to permit their host universities to operate research programs by minimizing the impact of restrictive state contracting and financial procedures.
The natures of these foundations vary as the state environments to which their host universities are subject vary. Some are “full service” foundations performing contracting, financial, personnel, purchasing, accounting, and other functions. Others have a narrow range of functions including only those which are difficult or impossible for the university itself to handle.
GTRC falls into the latter category, and its functions are almost all financial. GTRC contracts and is paid for the research done at Georgia Tech, paying Georgia Tech for all direct costs and 78.3% of the overhead. The 21.7% of the overhead retained by GTRC are used to establish reserves for the research program, and to pay certain expenses which Georgia Tech cannot pay. Administrative expenses of GTRC are included in the approved overhead, so a portion of the 21.7% is reimbursement for those expenses. Appropriations are made to Georgia Tech from reserves, as requested by the Georgia Tech Administration and approved by the Board of Trustees of the Corporation.
The basis of the Georgia Tech-GTRC relationship is the 1953 agreement between the Regents of the University System and the Board of Trustees of GTRC. That agreement established the 78.3%-21.7% overhead allocation, among other things.
Other GTRC functions include:
- Providing a short reaction time in contract matters with sponsors, on some occasions handling them informally, if desirable.
- Assisting Georgia Tech in attracting research dollars by appropriating funds for facilities and equipment — particularly when a research award may be contingent upon Tech’s having the facilities or equipment.
- Serving as a fiscal buffer between external agencies and Georgia Tech through such activities as: carrying accounts receivable, assuming responsibility for retroactive provisional overhead adjustments, and by absorbing bad debts.
- Assisting Georgia Tech in recruiting research faculty by appropriating funds for initial program costs for new senior research faculty, extraordinary costs of relocation, doctoral fellowships for research faculty, and subsidies for the purchase of personal computers.
- Assisting Georgia Tech in attracting high quality graduate students by providing direct financial support.
- Paying costs of moving household goods of new research faculty, as well as personnel travel costs providing financial support to programs for research faculty tuition reimbursement, foreign travel, and travel to professional society meetings.
- Carrying comprehensive liability insurance on research operations.
- Leasing research equipment and facilities for use by Georgia Tech.
- Advancing funds to Georgia Tech on a no-interest and loan basis when availability of state funds is delayed.
- Serves as patent agency for obtaining patents on Georgia Tech inventions and for licensing, development and commercialization by industry.
- Issuing travel advances, and reimbursement of faculty for some expenses not allowable under state procedures.