Accelerating Innovation: University, U.S. Military, and Private Sector Partnerships

May 21, 2021

Accelerating Innovation: University, U.S. Military, and Private Sector Partnerships

The way the military has approached partnering for technological innovation has changed significantly over the last 5+ years. In order to tap into rapid advances made in consequential areas such as artificial intelligence/machine learning, the Department of Defense and military services have turned to commercial/startup inspired models. These changes comprise a new innovation landscape that includes many partnerships among academics, the US military, and the private sector. Many of the new organizations emerging in this new landscape are connected to MIT.

The core questions to be pursued include: How have these partnerships worked in general? How much have they changed the way defense innovation operates in practice? What has been MIT’s role, and what should be MIT’s role?

Introductory Comments: MIT President Rafael Reif

Moderator: Gene Keselman, Executive Director of the MIT Innovation Initiative


Eric Schmidt
Co-Founder, Schmidt Futures
Former CEO & Chairman of Google
Former Chairman of the Department of Defense’s Innovation Board

Daniella Rus
Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
Deputy Dean of Research for Schwarzman College of Computing at MIT
USAF Director, USAF-MIT AI Accelerator

Major General Jonathan Woodson
Director, Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy, Boston University
Army Reserve Medical Command Commanding General

Bernadette Johnson
Chief Technology Ventures Officer, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Tucker Hamilton
USAF Director, USAF-MIT AI Accelerator