|Late in 1999, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced a long-term collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to establish MediaLabEurope (MLE), an independent, university-level research and education centre. The decision to locate in Dublin was taken after protracted talks with a number of other European countries, including Germany, Sweden, Italy, Denmark and Spain. According to Prof Nicholas Negroponte, the director of MIT, the others '…aren't as adventuresome, bold and aggressive as you are here.'
The MIT Media Lab is, if not unique, unusual in that more than 90 percent of its funding comes from private industry. The laboratory, which currently receives support from 170 corporations worldwide, will assist MediaLabEurope in attracting research sponsors and developing linkages with the European business community. The goal is to make MediaLabEurope self-sustaining by the end of the fifth year of collaboration. MLE, MIT's 'window to Europe', marks the beginning of a partnership which will bring Europe's finest digital thinkers to Dublin in a project which will cost £130 million to fund, over ten years.
MIT is famous for its unconventional approach to science, technology and the arts, researching projects as diverse as artificial intelligence, futuristic toys and wearable computers. MLE will hope to draw on Ireland's artistic and cultural strengths, with Glorianna Davenport, a Media Lab film and multimedia specialist working in a co-director position at MLE.
Within its first ten years of operation, MediaLabEurope is projected to grow to approximately 250, including faculty members, research staff and students: 20 full-time faculty members from Ireland and abroad; 15 full-time research staff; 20 part-time faculty members from universities across Ireland; more than 100 post-graduate students (at least half from Ireland); and 100 undergraduate students. The independent MediaLabEurope is initially expected to develop a cooperative program for conferring joint degrees with several Irish universities, but over time, it is envisioned that it will develop and implement its own master of science and doctoral degree programs. It is envisaged that the facility will also work with third-level students and those at primary and secondary levels.
The new initiatives mark a major step forward for Ireland in the global, electronic economy, and will help establish the country as an international centre for multimedia and electronic commerce. At the announcement The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern added: "By fusing the proven expertise and techniques of the MIT MediaLab with the youth, energy and creative talent which exists in abundance in Ireland, we can create a unique new institute which will be a shining beacon on the future global landscape, for the benefit of Ireland, Europe and beyond".
"With these developments, we are bringing the future to Ireland".
For more information about MediaLabEurope please contact the IDA Ireland.
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