MIT and Imperial launch seed fund to support ‘risky’ research

Money to be set aside for ‘blue skies’ fundamental research

October 5, 2015

Imperial College London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in supporting “risky” research that might otherwise not be funded.

The two institutions will initially contribute $300,000 (£200,000) to spark collaborations between their academics, and have said they will invest more if the fund succeeds.

The MIT-Imperial College London Seed Fund will cover small-scale experiments that are “early-stage, risky and ‘blue skies’”, an announcement from Imperial said today.

Alice Gast, president of Imperial, said: “The world turns to MIT and Imperial to solve a broad range of societal problems. Amid the immediacy of these increasing external expectations, both universities need to find ways to support fundamental research where the results are less immediate and the impacts promising but less certain.

“This programme is an important and creative way to ensure that truly novel ideas can be pursued. I am excited by its potential,” she said.

Her counterpart at MIT, Rafael Reif, added: “So many of the breakthroughs that the MIT and Imperial faculty have enjoyed can be traced directly to our institutions’ shared commitment to basic research.”

“It is critical that we continue to find ways to support research interests whose payoff might be significant, but only over time. We are delighted to collaborate with our colleagues at Imperial to create new opportunities for exploration,” he continued.

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