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MIT launches new global innovation initiative

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MIT today announced a new initiative that will strengthen, connect and accelerate its innovation efforts around the globe. The International Innovation Initiative (I3, pronounced "I-cubed"), which MIT President Susan Hockfield announced today at a conference in New Delhi, India, will provide a focal point for future interactions between MIT researchers and the global venture capital community.

"I3 will usher in a new era of partnership and collaboration, and provide new opportunities for innovation," said Hockfield. "The initiative will be a catalyst for new strategies to solve world problems -- such as climate change, energy and the environment -- and to drive economic growth."

I3 will use as its model the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, established at the MIT School of Engineering in 2002 to identify and incubate novel early-stage research developed at MIT, with the aim of turning great ideas into real-world products and processes. Founded with an initial donation by technology entrepreneur and visionary Desh Deshpande and his wife, Jaishree, the center has funded more than 65 projects; 12 of those have spun out of the center into commercial ventures with outside financing.

"The newly formed International Innovation Initiative provides a streamlined organizational umbrella to strengthen and enhance the innovation ecosystem by applying the best practices of the Deshpande Center in the School of Engineering to our international activities and collaborations," said Subra Suresh, dean of engineering and Ford Professor of Engineering.

Among its many objectives, I3 will work with international partners to identify and select collaborative research projects across multiple disciplines that could lead to new company formation; connect researchers to local and global venture capital networks; and develop courses for students that address technological innovation and go-to-market strategies.

I3 will be organized through the Deshpande Center within the MIT School of Engineering, and will be headed by Professor Charles L. Cooney, faculty director of the Deshpande Center.

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