MIT Washington Office

The president established the MIT Washington Office within his office during the spring and summer of 1991. The Washington Office opened on August 12, 1991. The vice president for federal relations heads the office and reports to the president. The staff includes senior legislative assistants Kathryn K. Alsbrooks and Jason M. Van Wey and administrative assistant Helen C. Haislmaier.


The mission of the Washington Office is to support the advocacy activities of the president in Washington and to represent the Institute in Washington as one of the nation's premier academic institutions. The office maintains a steady flow of information between MIT and the federal government. Staff members gather and disseminate information to the MIT campus concerning government activities and actions. The staff also makes the Institute's resources available to federal officials, facilitating the sharing of them with Congress, the Executive Branch, and other national organizations. The office maintains liaison with the offices of the Massachusetts congressional delegation and other congressional offices.

Advocacy Coalitions and Working Groups

The vice president and staff are engaged in the activities of the major organizations and coalitions that work in support of the federal investment in university research and education, including the following:

The office frequently engages MIT faculty and students as advocates with members of Congress and their staffs. This year, four faculty members, three administrators, and three students participated in advocacy events sponsored by those groups noted above with an asterisk (*).

Post-9/11 Legislative Initiatives

Following the tragedies of September 11, 2001, the vice president collaborated with colleagues in national organizations as the university community responded to a series of national legislative and policy proposals that sought to strengthen homeland security. These activities continue to span issues related to the flow of foreign students and scholars into the United States, as well as matters related to the conduct of federally sponsored research. The new Department of Homeland Security has begun to initiate programs and policies that bear on these issues. Notable contributions to the work of national organizations and the work of the office continue to be made by the vice president for research, the senior counsel, the director of the Office of Sponsored Research and the International Scholars and Students offices. Working collaboratively as a team, MIT officials work to secure acceptable policy and legislative outcomes.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Center for Fusion and Plasma Science, Bates Laboratory

Lincoln Laboratory, the Center for Fusion and Plasma Science, and Bates Laboratory are among MIT's largest research entities. In terms of federal research support, they are among the most vulnerable to abrupt shifts in funding priorities. The vice president continued to accompany the associate provost and senior staff of Lincoln Laboratory on visits to key congressional offices. The objectives were to brief key staff on current activities and accomplishments of the laboratory, and, at the end of the congressional cycle, to express appreciation for the continued support of key members and staff.

MIT Congressional Staff Seminar on Science and Technology

In 1993, with the financial support of the Sloan Foundation, MIT began an annual seminar for senior congressional staff on science and technology issues. The president invites more than 200 staff leaders of key committees and related policy groups to attend an intensive two-day seminar with senior MIT faculty and presenters from industry and other universities. In 1993, the first attendees established the format. Topics are suggested by staff. Professors Eugene B. Skolnikoff, Claude R. Canizares, and Stephen Ansolabehere are codirectors of the program. On April 23–25, 2003, sixteen senior staff attended the seventh seminar, titled "Transportation." Professors Cynthia Barnhart and David H. Marks chaired the planning committee. The Washington Office again identified invitees, made travel arrangements, and served as program staff throughout the seminar. Senior career staff of the Executive Office of the President attended the seminar.

Executive Branch

The vice president continued to accompany the associate provost on visits to senior officials of Executive Branch agencies.

John C. Crowley
Vice President for Federal Relations

More information about the Washington Office is available on the web at


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