Aligning Interests for Mutual Benefit

Companies and universities both benefit when fundamental research results can be translated to commercial applications in a reasonably short time. Toward that goal, each party brings its respective strengths and externally imposed constraints.

Industry desires to increase shareholder value through growth and competitive advantage. To that end, corporate management orchestrates its personnel and investments to achieve corporate goals.

MIT aims to enable its professors, researchers and students to learn, advance knowledge, discuss research results freely among themselves and with peers, and educate the world through publications. With that in mind, MIT’s leaders endeavor to create an environment that supports the academic goals of MIT scholars.

Fortunately, arrangements that balance the respective interests and cultures of industry and academia are well demonstrated, even if some of their details are not widely understood. Every year at MIT, corporate sponsors successfully participate in hundreds of research projects. Only rarely do MIT and a potential corporate sponsor fail to reach agreement on a sponsored research contract, and those instances generally are due to a significant misalignment of the company’s and MIT’s interests and capabilities.

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