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14.0 Research Policies and Public and Private Support

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14.8 Industrial Liaison Program

Founded in 1948, the Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) provides its member companies with convenient access to the expertise and resources of MIT as well as to comprehensive information on the full range of research and educational activities at MIT. Through its various services, the ILP has become an organized and mutually beneficial communications link between the faculty and staff at the Institute and the research, management, and operational activities of more than 200 diverse research-oriented industrial organizations.

With the active assistance and cooperation of the faculty, staff, and administration, the ILP provides its services to participating members for an annual fee. Net income from these fees is a major source of unrestricted income for the Institute.

In 1974, the ILP introduced a Revenue Sharing Plan under which 10 percent of the gross revenue received each year is distributed at year's end among MIT faculty and staff who participate in the activities of the ILP. The Revenue Sharing funds--which are administered by the individual departments, laboratories, and centers--are for use by the faculty and staff for professional development. Faculty and research staff receive these funds based on their participation in the following ILP activities:

  1. Informal research meetings on matters of mutual interest with scientists and managers from member companies, both on campus and at company locations.
  2. A yearly series of formal symposia and seminars on topics of current interest in science, engineering, and management. These meetings feature presentations by faculty and staff and are held on campus, as well as at company sites, particularly on the West Coast and in Europe and Japan.
  3. The ILP encourages faculty and research staff to submit copies of preprints and working papers as well as laboratory technical reports. These documents are digitized in PDF format and downloadable by ILP member companies. Papers of special interest to industry are listed in the ILP edition of MIT Technology Insider, an electronic monthly providing news on MIT research, reports on the impacts of emerging technologies, and special insights and announcements for ILP members.
  4. To help organize and make this information readily available, the Industrial Liaison Program maintains an extensive KnowledgeBase of faculty interests and expertise, research projects and associated publications, as well as listings of multi-sponsored programs, collegia, and consortia at the Institute.

Among the reasons for the success of the ILP are the industrial liaison officers. Each officer is responsible for staying in touch with the latest research and educational activities of specific departments, laboratories, and centers. In addition to following developments on campus, each officer works closely with a portfolio of companies, staying abreast of their needs and responding to specific requests. As knowledgeable persons about the needs and interests of both industry and the faculty, officers are the point of contact between the two worlds.

For faculty and staff, the ILP provides the following:

  1. A framework for learning about the technical needs and interests of participating companies.
  2. Opportunities to increase industrial interest in and support of sponsored research, grants, and fellowships. The Program has, for example, supported the formation of university/industry initiatives, partnerships, collegia and forums in various departments, laboratories, and centers.
  3. Convenient channels to increase contacts with industry through both formal and informal meetings. These contacts can lead to a variety of research sponsors and other opportunities.
  4. Support for visits by Institute faculty and staff to industrial laboratories and plants of member companies around the world.
  5. Improved opportunities for effective placement of graduates through better mutual knowledge of personnel and facilities.

The Faculty Policy Committee maintains a broad overview of the activities of the Office of Corporate Relations and its Industrial Liaison Program and other similar efforts as they relate to the activities of the members of the Faculty.

For more detailed information, consult The MIT Industrial Liaison Program: A Guide for Faculty and Staff or the ILP website at http://ilp-www.mit.edu.

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