Eugene A. Fitzgerald, the Merton C. Flemings-Singapore MIT Alliance Professor of Materials Engineering at MIT, has been appointed chief executive officer and director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore established in partnership with the National Research Foundation of Singapore. He is also the lead principal investigator of the SMART Low Energy Electronic Systems Interdisciplinary Research Group. He replaces Daniel Hastings, the Cecil and Ida Green Education Professor, who returns to MIT to head the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Hastings served as SMART CEO and director from 2014 to 2018.
Fitzgerald has a distinguished career as an academic, researcher, and serial entrepreneur and has a keen awareness on innovation. He started his career as a research scientist in AT&T Bell Labs in 1989 upon attaining his PhD in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and a BS degree in materials science and engineering from MIT. Leveraging his experience at AT&T Bell Labs, he and colleagues invented high mobility strained silicon and commercialized the technology through AmberWave System Corporation — a company he co-founded in 1998 with his former MIT graduate student Mayank Bulsara. The majority of silicon integrated circuits in cell phones, computers, and other applications use the technology today.
Since 2004, he also founded or co-founded six other enterprises in the areas of semiconductors, water purification, and silicon-based high efficiency multi-junction solar cells.
Fitzgerald is the co-author of the book “Inside Real Innovation,” which promotes innovation as an iterative process where one goes through several cycles in the areas of technology, market, and implementation. In 2008 he co-founded a not-for-profit entity that formed joint corporate-university innovation teams to help corporations find new directions as well as educate participants through early-stage real-world project exploration.
“Professor Fitzgerald is an experienced academic leader and an accomplished innovator and entrepreneur. He is well-regarded in both the research and enterprise spheres in Singapore. I am confident that he will carry on the excellent leadership and propel SMART into the next phase of growth,” says MIT Provost Martin Schmidt.
SMART unites faculty, researchers, and graduate students from MIT and Singapore with academic and industry researchers in Singapore and Asia to collaborate in new areas of science and technology, and propel innovations into the enterprise space.
Fitzgerald says: “Having been involved with MIT programs in Singapore from the start in 1998, I have seen MIT and Singapore evolve together through collaboration in research, innovation, and enterprise, and look forward to building more capabilities and success in all areas.”
SMART comprises five large-scale research programs plus the Innovation Center. These programs are: Antimicrobial Resistance, BioSystems and Micromechanics, Disruptive and Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision, Future Urban Mobility, and Low Energy Electronic Systems.