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A Foundation For Future Research
by Joe L. Key

When you retire, it’s traditional to look back and take some measure of your success. But after a decade and a half of helping to steer UGA research policies and programs, I also look forward.

We have certainly made great progress in research and creative scholarship across campus these past 14 years. Research funding through grants and contracts has grown from about $40 million to more than $100 million a year, with total research expenditures exceeding $230 million. We have invested nearly $100 million for new science buildings, including the Life Sciences Building, the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC), a recently completed animal science complex and a soon-to-be-completed Center for Applied Genetic Technologies (CAGT) — research and incubator facilities for start-up companies.

But it is the very nature of research to build upon past achievements, and the university is now positioned to do just that. We have advanced existing research centers, like the highly respected Institute for Behavioral Research and the CCRC. With support from the Georgia Research Alliance, two outstanding GRA Eminent Scholars have developed excellent X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy facilities. To strengthen creative scholarship, the Center for Humanities and Arts and the Senior Faculty Research Grants in Humanities and Arts were established.

Looking to the future, the university has significantly expanded its biotechnology programs — the heart of which is the GRA-funded CAGT and a rapidly developing integrated genomics program, which recently was proposed to be an institute. Our highly successful technology licensing program — which has grown in annual revenues from $100,000 in 1986 to $3.5 million this past year and has created three to five start-up companies per year, contributing significantly to economic development — and our nationally recognized animal care and use program represent important steps forward in managing and commercializing research discovery. These are examples where outstanding colleagues have made true imprints of excellence.

But the strength of our research program rests on the shoulders of an exceptional faculty, whose scholarship we highlight in Research Reporter, a magazine that was revived when I assumed the vice presidency. I hope that, like me, my colleagues on the faculty will take stock of our university’s research achievements and find us well prepared to be among the leaders of research universities during this new millennium.

Thank you for your help in making it so.


Joe Key retired in November after 14 years as vice president for research. He continues to operate a laboratory and conduct research on regulation of gene statement in plants — as he has throughout his career.


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Dr. Joe L. Key

Dr. Joe L. Key