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Accenture bolsters support for technology and innovation through new MIT-wide initiative

Company announces a five-year collaboration.
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MIT President L. Rafael Reif and Accenture CEO Julie Sweet enthusiastically present signing documents to the screen in a virtual signing ceremony.
MIT and Accenture announced a five-year collaboration to advance technology and innovation, attended virtually by MIT President L. Rafael Reif (left) and Accenture CEO Julie Sweet.
Image: Lillie Paquette/School of Engineering

MIT and Accenture today announced a five-year collaboration that will further advance learning and research through new business convergence insights in technology and innovation. The MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology, established within the School of Engineering, will aim to draw faculty, researchers, and students from across MIT.

MIT’s alliance with Accenture spans over 15 years and has proven to be paramount in establishing educational programming and training in technology advancement and data analysis. The industry leader has collaborated with MIT across areas including: MIT Professional Education, MIT Sloan Executive Education, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, MIT CSAIL Alliances, MIT Horizon, MIT Career Advising and Professional Development, MIT Data Science Lab, MIT Data to AI Lab, the Gabrieli Laboratory, and the Department of Economics Initiative on Technology and the Future of Labor, among others.

“The world is experiencing disruption beyond what any of us have seen in our lifetimes. In that context, it is more important than ever that academia and industry collaborate to address pressing societal challenges and opportunities,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “Building on MIT's long relationship with Accenture, we are eager to join forces again now to demonstrate how the convergence of industries and technologies is powering the next wave of change and innovation, and how we can harness and shape these forces for positive impact.”

Accenture will work with MIT to establish opportunity on multiple fronts: from graduate fellowships awarded to graduate students working on research in industry and technology convergence who are underrepresented, including by race and ethnicity and by gender, to an ambitious educational program targeting Accenture’s 500,000 employees.  

“As disruptive technologies and ideas continue to blur the boundaries between industries, moving with speed and designing a future that will benefit all requires a different approach,” says Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture. “Rapid progress will depend on the ability of industries to learn from each other, from technology leaders and from diverse perspectives across business and academia. MIT, with its strengths across science and engineering, the arts, architecture, humanities, social sciences, and management, and its continuing commitment to interdisciplinary programs, is the ideal partner for Accenture to create breakthrough new research, education and thought leadership programs that can help companies and countries seize the opportunity of the convergence of industry, technology and markets and embrace the change it will bring to create more 360-degree value for all.”

The new MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology will focus on the following offerings:

  • Advancing a portfolio of research projects that address technology and industry convergence in the near and long-term. This will include MIT research that is data-driven that connects to topics including AI, knowledge curation, and talent.
  • Providing five annual fellowships that will be awarded to graduate students working on research in industry and technology convergence who are underrepresented, including by race and ethnicity and by gender.
  • Establishing multiple learning programs including: a digital learning program bringing learnings to the broader Accenture community and leveraging MIT’s most innovative digital learning methodologies; a weeklong program held at MIT (possibly online) for Accenture leadership; a program designed to immerse c-suite executives in the latest convergence technologies; and opportunities for the MIT student community to engage with Accenture thought leaders.

“Our new collaboration with Accenture, which will build upon prior mutual efforts, is an obvious and wonderful step forward,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “I can’t wait to see the many incredible educational and innovative opportunities launched through this alliance.”

Sanjay Sarma will serve as chair of the advisory board for the MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology. Sarma is vice president for open learning at MIT and the Fred Fort Flowers (1941) and Daniel Fort Flowers (1941) Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Brian Subirana, research scientist and director of the MIT Auto-ID lab, will serve as director of the Initiative.   

Co-leads of the new Initiative will be Anantha Chandrakasan and Sanjeev Vohra, global lead of Accenture Applied Intelligence, both of whom will work with the advisory board including members from each organization.

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