Great Commitments

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Associate professor of engineering Jenna Jambeck is one of the world’s foremost experts on microplastic pollution in the oceans.

As one of America’s research intensive institutions of higher education, the University of Georgia is committed to the creation and sharing of knowledge. Our Great Commitments are areas of research excellence with three broad goals: Healthier People, A More Secure Future, and Stronger Communities.

The creation of new vaccines, treatments and interventions to improve human health has been a growing area of emphasis among our faculty members over the past several years. Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Ted Ross and his colleagues in the University’s Center for Vaccines and Immunology, for example, have partnered with Sanofi Pasteur to develop and test a vaccine that aims to protect against multiple strains of influenza. In the Odum School of Ecology, Distinguished Research Professor John Drake and his colleagues are developing mathematical models to underpin an early warning system that could help public health officials prepare for—and possibly prevent—infectious disease outbreaks. In the College of Public Health, UGA Foundation Professor Phaedra Corso is evaluating childhood obesity in Georgia with the support of a National Institutes of Health grant.

Like research to improve health, research that aims to create a more secure future spans several schools and colleges at UGA. Faculty members in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, for example, are working to improve crop yields while reducing the use of inputs such as water and fertilizer. In the School of Public and International Affairs, faculty in the Center for International Trade and Security conduct research and outreach that focus on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Our commitment to a more secure future also extends to cyberspace, with faculty members in the University’s Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy are developing new software and techniques to promote the security of internet-connected devices and networks.

Our work to create stronger communities stems from our abiding responsibility to serve our state and world. In the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Janette McGarity Barber Distinguished Professor Emilie Smith has evaluated the impact that high-quality after-school programs have on youth development. Faculty members in the College of Education conduct research that seeks to improve instruction in a variety of settings, while faculty members in the College of Environment and Design are applying their expertise to the revitalization of downtowns. On the coast, a UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant project is helping communities prepare for and benefit from the expansion of the Savannah Harbor.

These are among the many examples of the ways that our faculty members apply their knowledge to today’s grand challenges. Through investments in talented faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, we’ve doubled down on our search for solutions that result in healthier people, a more secure future and stronger communities. Our externally-funded research activity has risen 37 percent since 2014, and I am confident that the University of Georgia’s impact on our state and world will continue to grow. 

More information:
Great Commitments
Office of Research