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Crawley announces intention to step down as president of Skoltech

AeroAstro professor to return to MIT next year after five years as Russian institution’s first leader.
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Professor Edward Crawley
Professor Edward Crawley

MIT professor Edward Crawley, who has served since 2011 as the first president of Russia’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), has announced his intention to step down from the post by next summer.

Skoltech, a graduate research university focused on technology and innovation that is located on the outskirts of Moscow, has been developed in collaboration with MIT.

In a letter to the Skoltech community, Crawley noted the rapid progress since the institution’s founding in 2011: “[W]e have hundreds of students, in five well-developed academic programs, and our first graduating class. We have recruited dozens of faculty leaders from around the world, and opened nearly ten international research programs. And we have developed an innovation program that is truly unique.”

During the first phase of Skoltech’s development MIT has been serving as its principal development partner, helping to design and build new educational programs, launch research centers, and attract high-quality faculty and students to the new institute. This phase of MIT’s involvement at Skoltech will be completed early next year.

It is planned that Skoltech will undertake the next phase of its development independently, while maintaining some collaborative links to MIT which are still under discussion. Bruce Tidor, faculty director of the MIT Skoltech Initiative and a professor of biological engineering and computer science, notes that in spite of the many challenges of building a new Russian university from the ground up, “The project has accomplished a great deal and remains a compelling vision for Russia and the world. We owe Ed Crawley a debt of gratitude for taking on this ambitious and demanding mission.”

Crawley, the Ford Professor of Engineering in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been on leave from MIT since 2011. He expects to return to the Institute next year, but told his Skoltech colleagues that he will remain involved in their work.

“While I now plan to return to MIT … I will continue to be a proud member of the Skoltech community,” he wrote. 

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