Jere Morehead, president-elect for the University of Georgia, has announced plans to increase economic development for UGA, and will spearhead this endeavor with a new economic development office in Atlanta, according to a UGA news release.

“One of the pillars of the university’s mission is service to the state, and that includes helping foster growth and prosperity,” Morehead said in the news release. “I am convinced the University of Georgia can play an even greater role in economic development, and these changes signal our intention to do so.”

The center was announced Monday and has already received positive feedback. It aims to “provide a closer link with the business sector and the Georgia Department of Economic Development,” according to the news release.

“This new structure will enhance UGA’s ability to deploy the full breadth of our resources with focus and agility across the state,” said Margaret Wagner Dahl, associate provost for economic development and director of the Georgia BioBusiness Center, in the news release. “I look forward to being a part of this significant effort initiated by President-elect Morehead.”

The installation of a new economic development center will add to the more than 30 companies the Georgia BioBusiness Center has launched — with collective investment in those companies at approximately $150 million.

David Lee, vice president of research at UGA, said that efforts such as the economic development office are “important” in UGA’s ideals. These ideals have allowed UGA to consistently be among the top 10 universities in the nation for moving research discoveries into the marketplace.

“Nurturing and assisting those who might have an interest in starting their own companies is an important aspect of the modern land-grant university mission and one that we will pursue vigorously as part of our effort to promote economic development,” Lee said.

The new Atlanta office — much like the Athens offices — will report to Lee and Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum, and will also utilize “scientific, technology commercialization and tech-based startup assets” along with economic development, according to the news release.

“This reorganization will help mobilize UGA’s research and outreach efforts to support job creation, growth and prosperity,” Frum said in the news release. “Being responsive to the changing needs of Georgia is our top priority.”

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