At yesterday’s Ideastream symposium, sponsored by MIT’s Deshpande Center, researchers mingled with venture capitalists and investors. One panel featured big names in innovation discussing issues in funding and the necessity of cross-disciplinary studies.
The new Koch Institute was designed particularly for cross-disciplinary research, said director Tyler Jacks. It brings together key researchers in nanotechnology, biology, and infotechnology.
Ernest J. Moniz, director of the MIT Energy Initiative, emphasized that communication and collaboration are important not just across research fields, but also across nontechnical areas. “To have those technologies actually penetrate the market requires interface with management, social sciences, [and other fields],” he said. This is why integrating investors, startups, and venture capitalists with researchers is crucial, he added.
“The tonic for the struggle to achieve cross-disciplinary success is tapping into the young people,” said Frank Moss, director of MIT’s Media Lab. He remarked that the Koch Institute’s plan of designing for physical proximity across disciplinary studies is what the Media Institute has strived for, with a minimal number of walls–and glass ones, at that. Such interdisciplinary focus has led the Bank of America to fund an upcoming Media Lab project looking at effective computing, economics, and media, said Moss. Big companies rarely fund basic research, he noted, but he believes that it’s an early indicator of things to come: “I think over the next few years, we’ll see the industry waking up and seeing [that] basic research is disappearing.”
For a portion of the panel, Moniz and Jacks argued good-naturedly about funding difficulties. Jacks stated that energy research has an easier time getting funding, while Moniz countered that cancer–something that everyone is afraid of getting–would be more of a primary target for funding than energy issues are. “There’s no more reliable enemy than death,” quipped Moniz.
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything
Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of
The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.