The Grantville Research Committee began under the Stearns-lead Grantville Emergency Committee as an advisory body made up of technically educated residents of Grantville with the initial mission of defining what technologies could be quickly adapted the "gearing down" strategy of reaching as high a level of sustainable nineteenth century technology given Grantville's limited resource base and small population.

It also advised the Emergency Committee on technical literature which should be secreted from down-time European eyes in order to maintain a technological edge as long as possible, advised on some disinformation for the same strategic purpose, and established an strategy to set up a research institute and facilities, then oversaw implementation.

The Grantville High School library became the core stock in the institute augmented by collected college texts from around town. Naturally, the library was frequented by foreign spies, a situation the government of Grantville could prevent with only limited success.

The Grantville Research Facility established by the Committee was not open to outsiders. It developed a number of technologies (bombardment rockets, napalm, sulfa drugs, the SRG rifle) and industries (e.g. U.S. Steel, which was open to the visitor, some pharmacological products, etc.) that were not present in the town at the Ring of Fire. It aided in guiding other business entities, such as Kubiak Industries.

Both institutions aidedtechnological needs of businesses within and without the State of Thuringia-Franconia region, under the Stearnsian policy and assumption that sharing knowledge and helping solve technological problems would benefit the greater good, which would in turn aid Grantville as it faced an era of declining internal technological capabilities. From the outset, the director of both institutions was Greg Ferrara, member of the Emergency Committee, and Stearns' principal adviser on technology.

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