Knowledge Transfer

CMSE enjoys a number of extremely effective and well-established mechanisms for knowledge and technology transfer to industry. The many excellent CMSE supported graduate students and post-docs who leave MIT to work in industry represent an important vehicle for knowledge transfer. By emphasizing team-based, interdisciplinary research within our IRG groups, students and post-docs are trained in a mode that is critically important to meeting the complex, fast-moving challenges of industry.

CMSE works in concert with a number of MIT industrial programs and centers to facilitate the transfer of the fundamental knowledge generated within the program to industry. MIT's Materials Processing Center (MPC) and Industrial Liaison Program (ILP), for example, work cooperatively to connect industry to the research carried out within our MRSEC program.

Read more about Industrial Outreach activities in our current annual report.


There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit at MIT that often leads to the development of new companies and businesses. This same spirit exists within CMSE, as demonstrated by the currently active companies that have been formed by our faculty, graduate students, and postdocs:

Lumarray, Inc.
Luminus Devices, Inc.
OmniGuide, Inc.
OG Surgical
QD Vision, Inc.
WiTricity Corp.


These various companies were founded to develop novel devices and components based on discoveries made within our MRSEC program and funded, in many cases, exclusively through NSF. We estimate that total direct job creation by these eight most closely CMSE-related companies is about 400 jobs to date.

Additionally, Nanosys and Quantum Dot Corporation (bought by Invitrogen) are companies whose technology platform is based in part on CMSE-supported fundamental research.


MIT's Technology Licensing Office (TLO) is kept aware of new discoveries emanating from CMSE research and helps our researchers file patents and issue licenses.

During our previous MRSEC award (2009-2014), at least 46 U.S. patents were issued that were related to the MIT MRSEC. In addition, there are approximately 22 active industrial licenses of CMSE-patented research. These numbers do not count the very significant patent and licensing activity for other sponsored research conducted by MRSEC-affiliated faculty.

See a listing of recently issued and pending patents in our 2016 annual report (PDF).


A recent survey of our MRSEC-supported faculty has revealed a high overall level of MRSEC-related outside collaboration. Our faculty members currently participate in one individual industrial collaboration and four individual collaborations with various U.S. and foreign government laboratories and agencies. There are also 47 currently active collaborations with academic researchers.

In addition, a number of our CMSE faculty members supervise students in departmental co-op programs who carry out research projects in a wide variety of industrial laboratories.  

Our faculty members collaborate directly with the following companies and national laboratories:


  • Micro Materials, UK
  • Inman Mills
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

U.S. & Foreign National Laboratories:

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg
  • U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center