Commission on Research Next

“Together, we want to discover the issues that will define the future of research, uncover new opportunities for engagement with peers, partners and others, and build the necessary infrastructure to make it all possible."

—Chaouki T. Abdallah
Executive Vice President for Research
Georgia Institute of Technology

Download the Research Next Report


What is Research Next?

Research universities will likely face significant challenges ahead, and addressing them begins with understanding the issues involved. That’s the goal for the Phase 1 report from the Commission on Research Next (CRN), an initiative brought together by Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President for Research, Chaouki T. Abdallah.

The CRN tapped the knowledge and expertise of Georgia Tech faculty, staff and students to analyze what the research landscape will look like ahead, for Georgia Tech and for other research-intensive universities. The report is available in its entirety on this website, and can be downloaded in PDF format.

A second team of faculty, staff and students is now working on Phase 2 of the effort, which will develop a strategy for how Georgia Tech’s research enterprise will – in alignment with the new institute strategic plan – respond to these challenges and move forward into the decades ahead. There are 82 members of committees working on the six goal teams for Phase 2.


Tim Lieuwen, Regents Professor, David S. Lewis J. Chair in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, and executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute

Mark Whorton, Deputy Director, Chief Technology Officer, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI)


The Research Next Report

A Letter from the EVP for Research

Research at the Georgia Institute of Technology is about finding connections between diverse ideas and disciplines. Those links are where breakthrough discoveries are possible that will enable humanity to continue growing safer, healthier, and wealthier over time. There is no shortage of these ideas at Georgia Tech.

Chapter 1: Framing the Research Landscape

Research Next started with one question: If we were to develop the university research enterprise from scratch, what would it look like? This question arises from the growing complexity and interconnectedness of modern research universities.

Chapter 2: The World Beyond

This chapter analyzes the external global factors that are beyond the control of any individual research university, but which affect how these universities function. Specifically, we address how evolving conditions could shape the topics, methods, funding, partnerships, and other resources important to conducting research.

Chapter 3: Research that Matters

This chapter identifies grand challenges, emerging topics, and requisite methods that will be addressed at major research universities. By tackling these areas, leading research universities will enhance society by fostering discovery through curiosity-driven research.

Chapter 4: Working with Others

This chapter focuses on university partnerships, analyzing the connection between research, education, and the value flow between them. In particular, it addresses the question of how research universities can cultivate a portfolio of purposeful strategic relationships, amplifying impact across individual, institutional, city, state, regional, national, and global dimensions.

Chapter 5: The World Within

This chapter examines the explicit and implicit functions and structures employed by the university research ecosystem to carry out its mission.


Chapter 6: Closing Remarks

A core thesis of this landscape analysis is that research universities have a key role to play in addressing the dominant opportunities and challenges facing society, including climate change, equity, health and aging, security, maintaining peace, and strengthening our democratic institutions.

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On March 17, Chaouki Abdallah, executive vice president for Research, Commission on Research Next co-chairs Tim Lieuwen and Wen Masters, and Commission report chapter co-leads conducted a town hall discussion around the launch of the CRN Phase 1 report.

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