The MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), in collaboration with the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, has announced the Jack Turner Entrepreneurship Award. The award will complement grants from the Deshpande Center and provide support to entrepreneurial graduate students and postdocs performing research within RLE.
The Jack Turner Entrepreneurship Award has been established with a generous $1 million gift from Professor Jae Lim of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who is also director of the Advanced Telecommunications Research Program within RLE. The gift honors the extraordinary contributions of Jack Turner, currently the senior associate director of the MIT Technology Licensing Office (TLO).
Turner’s leadership embodies the entrepreneurial spirit for which the MIT community is so well known. In particular, the fund acknowledges his contribution to the HDTV Technology Licensing Program, which has provided invaluable financial support to the RLE community.
Turner joined the TLO in February of 1993, after working for more than 25 years in engineering and senior management positions at three Boston-area, high tech companies. During his tenure at the TLO, Turner has played a role in the licensing of technology to more than 500 companies, including approximately 150 startups. Many of these were based on inventions from RLE.
Notable technologies managed by Turner have included 3-D printing, optical coherence tomography, optics, lasers, advanced optical fibers, network communications, displays, robotics, batteries, semiconductor materials and fabrication, plasmatrons, cyclotrons, magnetics, photovoltaics, autonomous vehicles, and — for more than 20 years — high-definition television (HDTV).
The Deshpande Center mission is to move MIT technologies from laboratories to the marketplace. The center provides grant funding, mentoring, and support to MIT faculty and students to help them commercialize their technologies.
The TLO's mission is to move innovations and discoveries from the lab to the marketplace for the benefit of the public and to amplify MIT's global impact. The TLO cultivates an inclusive environment of scientific and entrepreneurial excellence, and bridge connections from MIT’s research community to industry and startups, by strategically evaluating, protecting, and licensing technology.
Reflecting on the establishment of this award, Turner remarked: “I truly appreciate Jae’s generosity and recognition of what everyone at the TLO did over a period of 22 years to license more than 20 patents to digital television manufacturers ... the collaboration between RLE and the TLO played a pivotal role in the successful development of the techniques used for coding digital television programming, enabled by these inventions. I appreciate that this gift will support future generations of MIT entrepreneurs and foster continued innovation.”
In January 2019 the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation will be announcing a call for proposals which will include applications for the Jack Turner Entrepreneurship Award. Funds will provide MIT graduate stipend and tuition support, or salary support awarded competitively to MIT doctoral students or postdocs working under the mentorship of RLE faculty.