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Industry Affiliates Program: Bridging the Lab and the Marketplace
Photo: Jason Dorfman
The value of academic research is traditionally measured by its contribution to the world’s inventory of knowledge, through theses, papers, and physical artifacts. At CSAIL, we also view research as a practical matter – placing additional emphasis on designing and building technologies and solutions that have real-world impact. In many cases, this requires establishing partnerships with industry to translate new ideas and discoveries to real products and services in the marketplace.
CSAIL has a long history of working closely with industry. Many of our faculty are themselves founders and board members of technology companies created as a result of their research. Our entrepreneurial attitude fosters innovation and paves the way for strong industry participation and partnership.
Leading companies come to CSAIL to learn about our research, to recruit talented graduate students, and to explore collaborations with our faculty. However, these activities often occur by happenstance. In 2008, CSAIL launched the Industry Affiliates Program (IAP) to take a more proactive approach to working with industry. Through this program, we are able to better provide technology leaders with access to our latest thinking and our deep pool of exceptional human and informational resources.
What companies see in CSAIL – and what CSAIL can do for them Within the first five months of launching this program, 20 blue-chip organizations became CSAIL Industry Affiliates, including the world’s largest laptop manufacturers, the world’s largest software companies, the world’s largest cell phone manufacturer, and the world’s leading World Wide Web search company. “We did not set out to recruit exclusively the world’s leading companies,” says Victor Zue, director of CSAIL. “However, it is apparent that companies with a commitment to being the best – those with long-term vision and a reputation for being forward-thinking providers of very successful products and technologies – believe that CSAIL can help them maintain their excellence.”
While there are numerous benefits to joining the IAP, the advantages boil down to four key reasons:
Building tomorrow together