MIT model explains how the brain can learn novel tasks while still remembering what it has already learned.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Merck & Co., Inc., a leading research-driven pharmaceutical company, have announced a long-term research and education collaboration to pursue joint initiatives in both MIT science and engineering.
"This Merck-MIT partnership is a pacesetter. America must enhance its ability to innovate by increasing substantive interaction between faculty and students in universities and their research counterparts in industry," said MIT President Charles M. Vest. "We each have different roles to play, but synergies must be developed. Merck has exhibited real leadership by investing in the future through this support and interaction with MIT science and the future scientists and biotechnical engineers among our graduate students."
Edward M. Scolnick, M.D., Executive Vice President Science and Technology and President, Merck Research Laboratories, said, "First and foremost, our growth depends on breakthrough discoveries fueled by scientific excellence and strong investments in research."
Under the terms, Merck will have certain patent and technology license rights to developments resulting from the Merck-supported collaborations in exchange for funding up to $15 million over the initial five-year period, with an option to extend these collaborations to ten years.
Merck will engage broadly with MIT Science and Bioengineering through the support of faculty in science and bioengineering areas in developing technology and research. One project under consideration is developments in biocomputing -- computational science and infomatics applied to biology.
Under the agreement, MIT will propose programs and projects to joint collaboration managers. MIT will have rights to publish articles on the research. MIT students and faculty engaged in these Merck-funded activities will participate in symposia on their activities.
"MIT students and faculty will learn a lot from interacting with Merck scientists and we are very excited about the agreement," said Professor Phillip A. Sharp, Head of the Biology Department.
Added Robert Malster, MIT Manager of Corporate Relations, "MIT andMerck, both world class performers, will use this partnership toprepare for the next decades." Malster guided the interactions thatled to this "outstanding agreement."
In addition, Merck will support a group of 18 Merck Scholars through creation of a MIT-Merck Fellowship Program -- eight scholars at the graduate level in engineering, physical science and mathematics -- and ten at the post doctoral level in biological science. They will apply their diverse backgrounds to the problems of modern biology.
The Merck-MIT agreement provides for full participation by faculty, fellows, and students at MIT and the Whitehead Institute. The collaboration will be directed by a joint six-member team of collaboration managers. For MIT, these are Professor Sharp; Professor Nancy Hopkins, Department of Biology, and Member of the Center for Cancer Research, and Professor Daniel Wang, Institute Professor, Director of the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center and Member, Department of Chemical Engineering. Collaboration managers for Merck are Dr. Scolnick, who is also a Member of the Merck Board of Directors; Dr. Bennett M. Shapiro, Executive Vice President, Merck Worldwide Basic Research, and Dr. Myra B. Kurtz, Senior Director, Merck Research.
Merck (NYSE:MRK) is a global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of human and animal health products and services. Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.