Expanded MIT Deshpande Center Steering Committee integrates leaders from top reaches of academia and business

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (October 12, 2005) -- The MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation today announced that MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif and MIT Institute Professor Robert S. Langer have joined its Steering Committee, rounding out a leadership group that includes outstanding individuals from the upper reaches of both academia and industry. As Steering Committee members, they will help guide the Deshpande Center as it expands its presence within MIT and the broader business community through programs designed to bridge the gap between technological research and commercial application of new technologies.

As Provost, Prof. Reif is the senior academic officer of MIT, with overall responsibility for MIT's educational and research programs and faculty development. A member of the MIT faculty for 25 years and former head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, he is an internationally recognized researcher and educator in microelectronics. In naming him Provost, MIT President Susan Hockfield commended his early championing of micro- and nano-technologies as well as "his concern for the broader impact of those technologies on society."

Prof. Langer, MIT Institute Professor, has over 500 issued or pending patents worldwide, many of them licensed or sublicensed to more than 100 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical devices companies, including numerous startup companies launched on the basis of his innovations. Time Magazine and CNN in 2001 named him one of the world's 100 most important people, and Forbes Magazine and Bio World have named him one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world. In 2002, the National Academy of Engineering awarded him the Charles Stark Draper prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers.

"Provost Reif and Professor Langer have unique vision, knowledge, and experience, not only with pure scientific discovery, but also with the hands-on process of bringing practical innovations to life. They will make a huge contribution to the Deshpande Center as it fulfills its mission to help MIT innovators make a societal, academic and economic impact," said Charles Cooney, faculty director of the Deshpande Center and Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at MIT. "They join a Steering Committee that already includes individuals responsible for some of the world's most successful and effective academic and commercial innovations."

Provost Reif and Professor Langer join the Steering Committee at a time when the Deshpande Center is marking the progress of its innovation programs with significant commercial success of its early grant recipients (see accompanying news release).

Other members of the Deshpande Center Steering Committee include:

  • Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks, founder of Cascade and other successful technology companies, and a member of the MIT Corporation.
  • Alex d'Arbeloff, Honorary Chairman of the MIT Corporation, retired founder, CEO and Chairman of Teradyne, and recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
  • Thomas L. Magnanti, Dean of Engineering and Institute Professor at MIT and a leader in integrating educational programs combining engineering and management.
  • Edward T. Anderson, Managing General Partner and co-founder of North Bridge Venture Partners, and a leader in creating and supporting numerous successful technology ventures.
  • Charles L. Cooney, Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and faculty director of the Deshpande Center, who has worked with several successful new biotechnology ventures.
  • Krisztina Holly, Executive Director of the Deshpande Center and serial entrepreneur.


About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

The Deshpande Center was established to increase the impact of MIT technologies in the marketplace. It serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting MIT research through grants ranging from $50-250K, a Catalyst Program of volunteers that provide market focus and connections, i-Teams, and other opportunities. Over the first three years, the Deshpande Center has awarded $4.9 million in Ignition and Innovation Grants to 44 projects in a wide range of emerging technologies. So far, nine of these projects have turned into startups, collectively raising over $35M in capital. Founded with an initial donation by Jaishree and Desh Deshpande, the Deshpande Center depends on the financial and professional support of successful alumni, entrepreneurs, and investors to provide a sustainable source of funding for innovative research.