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Reif announces plans to launch an MIT Innovation Initiative

President asks 19-member panel, led by professors Fiona Murray and Vladimir Bulović, to deliver recommendations on next steps by Jan. 31.

President L. Rafael Reif has announced his intention to create an MIT Innovation Initiative, and has selected two faculty members to lead the effort.

In an email today to the MIT community, Reif named Fiona Murray, the Alvin J. Siteman (1948) Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Vladimir Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh (1990) Professor of Emerging Technology, to lead the MIT Innovation Initiative. He also named a 19-member Advisory Committee to assist Murray and Bulović in developing recommendations on next steps.

“I am indebted to Profs. Murray and Bulović and to the entire Advisory Committee for taking on this important challenge,” Reif wrote. “I look forward to seeing their recommendations. And I am eager to see how this Innovation Initiative can magnify the creative power of the people of MIT.”

Reif has asked Murray and Bulović to engage in conversations across the MIT community — including faculty, staff, students, and alumni — and to deliver a report by Jan. 31 that lays out recommendations for moving forward.

Reif’s letter noted that his inaugural remarks, in September 2012, celebrated MIT’s record of success in focusing interdisciplinary teams on deeply difficult problems, and asked the faculty to identify grand challenges where MIT could make a unique contribution.

“Over the course of the year, I have received many excellent ideas and suggestions; today, I address two that have a natural connection,” he wrote. “Many members of our community expressed a strong interest in strengthening our innovation ecosystem. I heard equally passionate suggestions that MIT focus intensely on manufacturing.”

Reif wrote that the recent report of MIT’s Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) Commission demonstrated that innovation and production “are not simply stops on a one-way journey to the marketplace; they are deeply linked and mutually reinforcing activities on a two-way street of creative iteration. In other words, if we want to accelerate innovation, we must advance our work on production as well.”

Reif’s letter linked to his charge to the Advisory Committee. It also identified the following members of the Advisory Committee for the MIT Innovation Initiative:

  • Pierre Azoulay,
 Sloan Distinguished Associate Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management
  • Martin Culpepper, professor of mechanical engineering
  • Elazer Edelman, Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Professor of Health Sciences and Technology
  • John Fernandez, associate professor of architecture
  • Yoel Fink, professor of materials science
  • Eugene Fitzgerald, Merton C. Flemings SMA Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
  • David Gifford, professor of electrical engineering and computer science
  • Karen Gleason, professor of chemical engineering
  • Douglas Hart, professor of mechanical engineering
  • David Mindell, Frances and David Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing and professor of aeronautics and astronautics
  • Dava Newman, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems
  • Georgia Perakis, William F. Pounds Professor of Operations Research
  • Julie Shah, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics
  • Amy Smith, founder and co-director of D-Lab
  • Marin Soljačić, professor of physics
  • Scott Stern, School of Management Distinguished Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management
  • Timothy Swager, John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry
  • Ron Weiss, associate professor of biological engineering
  • Sarah Williams, assistant professor of urban studies and planning

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