Noelle Toumey Reetz
Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development
ATLANTA—During a weeklong celebration of his investiture, Dr. M. Brian Blake reaffirmed the university’s dedication to his Four Pillars, including Research and Innovation, for Georgia State to build upon for continued success.
As the eighth president of Georgia State, Blake and his wife Dr. Bridget Blake, hosted a dinner to celebrate the awardees of Georgia State’s Research Innovation and Scholarly Excellence (RISE) initiative.
Blake has laid out an ambitious growth strategy for research and innovation at the university, and this first class of RISE awardees was recognized for their pursuit of research growth and impact.
“We were thrilled to bring together this group of researchers to acknowledge their creativity and desire for excellence in their fields,” Blake said.
The grantees are sharing $2.5 million in one-time seed funding to develop transformative research. The projects explore four key research hubs and comprise nearly 50 university experts across different fields.
“We are thrilled that the RISE initiative will rapidly accelerate bold, new directions within our research community,” said Tim Denning, Vice President for Research and Economic Development. “As we celebrate the installation of Dr. Blake, his support continues to be instrumental at a time when research at Georgia State is making huge strides.”
Researchers with the RISE initiative are innovating in fields as diverse as astronomy, criminal justice, neuroscience, law and virology. The research teams are forming partnerships with government agencies, private industry, foundations, nonprofits and philanthropic sponsors.
Charlotte Alexander, the Connie D. and Ken McDaniel WomenLead Chair and Professor of Law and Analytics at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business with a secondary appointment at the College of Law, is one of the RISE researchers studying Crime Prevention and Data Transparency.
“The RISE grants are a signal of the university’s continuing commitment to supporting interdisciplinary research and innovation. I know from my own work that the sum is greater than the parts in these projects,” she said. “For example, our collaboration between legal scholars and data scientists has allowed us to build a first-of-its-kind data infrastructure that uses AI to extract key information from court records and make it freely and easily accessible to scholars, journalists, policymakers, and the public. This opens up a new view into how the courts operate and helps improve the transparency, equity, and efficiency of the legal system.
“As RISE grantees, our research group has had the opportunity to meet similar cross-disciplinary teams at GSU, including recently at the dinner at the Blakes’ home. Though the focus areas across teams are different, the energy and excitement are the same. It’s an honor to be a part of this inspiring community of researchers,” Alexander said.
The initiative also awarded smaller seed awards of $50,000 in one-time funding to conduct research on issues including health equity, injury resilience for military veterans and soldiers as well as the creation of a music incubator for artists.
Georgia State is one of 146 public and private universities in the Carnegie Foundation’s elite category of R1: Highest Research Activity. For the past four years, the university has been the highest-ranked institution without an engineering, medical or agricultural school in the NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development survey, a nationally recognized barometer of university research activity.
Georgia State is the only comprehensive Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) with R1 Carnegie Research Classification in the nation, and as such is uniquely positioned to address complex societal problems through a lens of equity and access.