Our long-term goal is to empower the delivery to the public of intrinsic genetic solutions to challenges that face producers of raw materials for bio-based industries, to needs of the processors that convert raw material into finished products, and to the well-being (health benefits) and desires (quality factors) of consumers, by creating “gene encyclopedias” for regionally-important plants, animals, and fungi.

In March of 2002, the National Science Foundation has recently provided the first funding for this effort, a $600,000 2-year grant from its Partnerships for Innovation program. ‘Genes for Georgia’ was one of only 12 projects funded, among 109 submitted, a testament to the potential of this idea.

Initial scientific ventures will focus on Georgia’s most important agricultural animal, the domestic chicken, and Georgia’s leading row crop, cotton.

Simultaneously with early efforts in chickens and cotton, a key dimension of this activity will be a series of workshops to be held at the University of Georgia (Athens). Expert speakers will address:

(1) roles and responsibilities of non-profit researchers in stimulating technology innovation;
(2) avenues and success stories in the transformation of basic research into economic growth,
(3) training of a diverse population of future technologists and entrepreneurs; and
(4) state, regional, and federal programs and infrastructure to tie research to opportunities for technological innovation.

These workshops will also serve as a forum to plan strategies for expansion of Genes for Georgia to address additional plants and animals.