Skip to content ↓

MIT's alliances with industry

MIT has a long tradition of working on practical problems affecting the society and the economy, and in recent years has become a leader in developing collaborative partnerships with industry. These partnerships and the research activities of our faculty have resulted in the creation of jobs, companies and even new industries, based on new technologies. They are part of this country's innovation system -- a loosely coupled alliance of industry, universities, government and labor -- that develops new knowledge and technologies, educates a highly skilled work force to apply these new technologies, and produces the next generation of researchers to carry on the process of discovery and development. This system turns out a continuous stream of new products and services, which in turn advance our economy and improve our quality of life.

MIT's interactions with industry bring real-world technology and management issues into our research laboratories and our teaching. They keep the faculty and students current, grounded and forward-looking. This alliance with industry continues to be a priority of the Institute. In the past several years, MIT has entered into a new phase of cooperation and commitment in this area exemplified by a small number of strategic partnerships.

Amgen, 1994

In March 1994, MIT and Amgen, a leader in biotechnology, entered into a long-term research collaboration to pursue joint research initiatives. Engaging the biological science community at MIT, the research relationship was established principally with the Departments of Biology and of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, including the involvement of MIT professors working at the Whitehead Institute. With total support of about $30 million for a projected 10-year period, this was the first large-scale alliance between MIT and industry. The Amgen/MIT strategic partnership is a model of a mutually rewarding relationship bringing benefit to both organizations and recognizing the distinctive role of each.

Merck, 1997

In March 1997, MIT entered into another significant alliance involving direct scientific collaboration with industry, in this case, with Merck, a leading research-driven pharmaceutical company. A long-term research and education collaboration to pursue joint initiatives in both science and engineering at MIT, the Merck partnership will receive funding of up to $15 million over an initial five-year period, with an option to extend the collaboration to 10 years.

The partnerships with both Amgen and Merck involve no federal component, support mutually agreed-upon basic research problems at the cutting edge of modern biology and biotechnology, and encourage intellectual synergy and sustained dialogue among company and academic scientists. In addition, they include a strong emphasis on supporting education at both the graduate and postdoctoral levels.

Ford Motor Company, 1997

In October 1997, MIT and Ford Motor Co. announced a multimillion-dollar collaboration in education and research, with special emphasis on environmental and design challenges. With funding provided by Ford of at least $20 million over an initial five-year period, this agreement represents an intensified commitment by both organizations to continuing collaborative efforts, built on a long history of working together. It emerged from a recognition that changes brought about by globalization and the impact of information technologies require new models of collaboration by universities and industries. Initial priorities include the study of engineering design and educational environments of the future, along with providing seed funding for a major MIT-directed consortium to address environmental issues.������

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, 1998

In September 1998, the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) and two laboratories of MIT's School of Engineering announced a broad collaboration aimed at creating new technologies in telecommunication and computers and establishing a foundation for global progress in these areas. Focused on precompetitive research in information technology and computer science, the five-year program will be funded up to $18 million. At MIT, the research is being conducted primarily at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Laboratory for Computer Science.������

Merrill Lynch, 1999

In March 1999, the School of Engineering, the Sloan School of Management, and the School of Architecture and Planning entered into a five-year institutional collaboration with Merrill Lynch to establish the Financial Technology Education Initiative. This strategic alliance comprises a $15 million joint research initiative to fund collaborative projects across a broad range of disciplines in financial engineering, technology innovation and management and a $5 million gift to help MIT create a new graduate minor in financial technology. Based at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Sloan School, the Financial Technology Education Initiative will provide finance education for MIT graduate students in engineering, mathematics, computer science and media studies.������

DuPont, 1999

In September 1999, DuPont and MIT announced they had agreed to form a $35 million alliance. The goal of this alliance is to advance research and education in materials from biotechnology that have a variety of applications. Beginning Jan. 1, 2000, the five-year alliance will support projects that draw upon the science, engineering and business expertise at MIT and that extend and better leverage the reach of DuPont's scientific expertise in the areas of biology, genetics, bioinformatics and catalysis. It will bring together DuPont's and MIT's strengths in materials, chemical and biological sciences to develop processes for new materials directed at bioelectronics, biosensors, biomimetic materials, alternative energy sources and new high-value materials. Through the alliance, DuPont also will work with MIT's Sloan School of Management to define new business models for these emerging technologies.

Microsoft, 1999

In October 1999, Microsoft and MIT announced an alliance to enhance university education through information technology. Named "Project I-Campus," the collaboration will involve cooperative projects among students, faculty and researchers at MIT and members of Microsoft Research. In addition to assigning several research staff members to this effort, Microsoft is allocating $25 million for work at MIT over the project's five-year lifetime. Both MIT and Microsoft plan to engage additional academic and industry partners and produce materials that can be widely published and disseminated. Through an initial focus on methods and technologies that will enhance education on the MIT campus, it is expected that Project I-Campus could set the pace for university education in the next five to 10 years.

Hewlett-Packard, 2000

The Hewlett-Packard Company and MIT signed a memorandum of understanding on June 2, 2000 to form a $25 million alliance to develop innovative ways to create and handle digital information. The five-year alliance will investigate new architectures, devices, and user interfaces in information-rich environments and explore novel services for commerce, education, and personal use.

Related Topics

More MIT News

Woman leans on the ledge surrounding an indoor water tank, posing next to a small robotic boat that is also resting on the ledge

Educating future naval leaders

In class 2.702 (Systems Engineering and Naval Ship Design), naval officers and other graduate students get hands-on experience in project management skills that will be central to their future careers.

Read full story