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Boeing becomes first major tenant in MIT’s bid to harness ‘power of proximity’


By David Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2018

Aerospace giant Boeing has signed on as the first major corporate tenant in MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative, a collection of six sites near campus that the school is using to further build out its already considerable innovation ecosystem. The company has agreed to lease about 100,000 square feet in a building being developed in the heart of Cambridge’s Kendall Square.

The project will include not only R&D space but also housing, retail, office, academic, and open spaces.

“Our focus on advancing the Kendall Square innovation ecosystem includes a deep and historic understanding of what we call the ‘power of proximity’ to address pressing global challenges,” MIT Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz says. “MIT’s president, L. Rafael Reif, has made clear his objective of reducing the time it takes to move ideas from the classroom and lab out to the market. The power of proximity is a dynamic that propels this concept forward: Just as pharmaceutical, biotech, and tech sector scientists in Kendall Square work closely with their nearby MIT colleagues, Boeing and MIT researchers will be able to strengthen their collaborative ties to further chart the course of the aerospace industry.”

Boeing and MIT have been collaborating for a century in efforts to advance the global aerospace industry, and some of the company’s founders, engineers, and executives are MIT alumni.

Earlier this year, Boeing announced that it will serve as the lead donor for MIT’s $18 million project to replace its 80-year-old Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel, which will be the world’s most advance, according to the school.

In 2017, the company acquired MIT spinout Aurora Flight Sciences, which develops advanced aerospace platforms and autonomous systems. Its primary R&D center is located Kendall Square. In the new facility, Boeing will establish the Aerospace and Autonomy Center, which will focus on advancing autonomous aircraft technologies.

“Boeing is leading the development of new autonomous vehicles and future transportation systems that will bring flight closer to home,” says Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer. “By investing in this new research facility, we are creating a hub where our engineers can collaborate with other Boeing engineers and research partners around the world and leverage the Cambridge innovation ecosystem.”

“It’s fitting that Boeing will join the Kendall/MIT innovation family,” MIT Provost Martin Schmidt says. “MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the oldest program of its kind in the United States, and excels at its mission of developing new air transportation concepts, autonomous systems, and small satellites through an intensive focus on cutting-edge education and research. Boeing’s presence will create an unprecedented opportunity for new synergies in this industry.”

“Boeing will be a great addition to the Kendall Square innovation ecosystem,” adds Steve Marsh, managing director of MIT’s real estate group. The new site is steps from campus at the Kendall Square MBTA station.  “This is as close to MIT’s campus as industry innovators can physically get, and that helps promote important collaborations,” he says.

Source: MIT News

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