2011: Year of the international partners

MIT establishes academic partnerships with Russia, China, Malaysia, Singapore

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Madame Yandong Liu and President Susan J. Hockfield toast after signing an MIT-China educational partnership agreement at the McGovern Institute.
Jessica L. Wass—The Tech

In 2011, MIT broadened its international network, entering partnerships with Russia’s Skolkovo Foundation, China, and Malaysia, as well cultivating a relationship with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) established two years prior. These initiatives follow other international partnerships in recent years, including the 2007 creation of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology with Abu Dhabi and the 2007 establishment of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.


MIT and Russia’s Skolkovo Foundation announced a partnership in June, intended to jointly form a new graduate research university in Skolkovo, which has been referred to as the emerging Silicon Valley of Russia. The MIT-Skolkovo agreement made a three-year plan and created the Skolkovo Institute of Technology, or SkTech (ess-kay-tek), and was signed by President Susan J. Hockfield, Skokovo Foundation President Viktor Vekselberg, and SkTech’s founding president Edward F. Crawley ’76, a Course 16 professor, on Oct. 26, 2011. MIT faculty will be integrated into the development of SkTech, assisting with defining the university’s educational and research goals with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.

SkTech is scheduled to open its doors in 2014 to a projected 200 faculty members, 1200 inaugural graduate students, and 300 graduate students.

Partnership with the Skolkovo Foundation expands MIT’s academic relationship with Russia. The MIT Sloan School of Management has already been working with the Moscow School of Management in Skolkovo since the 2009 opening of Russia’s first full-time MBA program.


Hockfield and an MIT delegation traveled to several countries in Asia in November 2011, making a stop in Singapore to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the permanent campus of SUTD in Changi. SUTD was established in collaboration with MIT and China’s Zhejiang University in 2009 and formally announced in January 2010. It has since been housed at an interim campus in Dover, Singapore. Additionally, Thomas L. Magnanti, a MIT Sloan Institute Professor, was named the new president of SUTD this past year.

SUTD will matriculate its first class of students in April 2012. The 3.5-year education will feature familiar aspects of the MIT undergraduate program, such as Independent Activity Period (IAP), Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP).


March 2011 saw MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (MIT CTL) partner with Malaysia to create a center for supply chain education and research in Shah Alam, Malaysia. The Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) joins MIT’s network of similar centers across the world, the Global SCALE (Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence) Network. MISI opened in the spring of 2011, and its first class of Masters students will be matriculating in fall of 2012.


On April 13, 2011, Madame Liu Yandong, the State Councilor of China, signed two documents with Hockfield and other MIT faculty and administration furthering MIT’s partnership with China. One of those documents was a letter of intent, encouraging collaboration between MIT and China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The other document was a memorandum of understanding that a fellowship program would be established, with the China Scholarship Council sponsoring students from China to study at MIT.

These 2011 agreements followed the framework set up by the guidelines released in October 2010 by the MIT-Greater China Strategy Working Group, which was founded in 2007 by Associate Provost Philip S. Khoury to make recommendations regarding MIT’s relationship with mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.