Research at MIT
MIT's commitment to marrying education with the creation of knowledge provides a fertile setting for research that has spawned a host of scientific breakthroughs and technological advances. Past achievements include the creation of modern food preservation processes, the first chemical synthesis of penicillin and vitamin A, the development of inertial guidance systems, modern technologies for artificial limbs, high-speed photography, and the magnetic core memory that made possible the development of digital computers.
Research Expenditures by Primary Sponsor for Fiscal Year 2009 (figures
More recently, researchers at MIT have created a new type of matter—a gas of atoms that shows high-temperature fluidity; developed a semi-conductor polymer that can detect the presence of TNT vapor even at the concentration of parts per billion; are developing a process that will eliminate all liquid from solid-state batteries, doubling or tripling their capacity; and have harnessed the construction talents of tiny viruses to build "nanowire" structures for use in very thin lithium-ion batteries, with a goal of building a battery the size of a grain of rice.
In addition to breaking new ground in the convergence of engineering and the life sciences, MIT launched the MIT Energy Initiative in 2006. This comprehensive Institute-wide effort pairs MIT’s world-class research teams with key players across the innovation spectrum. MITEI has attracted sponsored research and other support totaling more than $250 million, funded over 49 seed-fund research projects, and created the Society of Energy fellowship, which has included 80 energy graduate students from 2008 to 2010.
During the academic year, approximately 3,100 researchers (including 634 visiting faculty and scientists) work with MIT faculty and students on projects funded by government, foundations, and industry. Approximately 2,400 graduate students are appointed as research assistants and 590 are appointed as teaching assistants; 1,600 are supported on fellowships. MIT has one of the most respected technology transfer programs in the country. In each of the past five years its Technology Licensing Office has signed approximately 100 option and license agreements, of which 20 to 25 each year were to startup companies formed to exploit the technology.
Interdisciplinary Centers, Labs, and Programs
Advances in knowledge, together with an awareness of the complexity of today's world, have led researchers to tackle complex problems that cannot be resolved from the vantage point of a single academic discipline. MIT's interdisciplinary centers, labs, and programs operate out of this awareness.
Center for Advanced Visual Studies