CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is severing ties with a research university it helped establish more than a decade ago in Russia, citing the country’s “unacceptable military actions” during the invasion of Ukraine.
Cambridge University said it notified the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow on Friday that it was exercising its right to end the MIT Skoltech program.
Federal law enforcement officials and foreign policy experts have long expressed concerns about the potential for espionage and technology theft stemming from MIT’s partnership with the school, which has close ties to the government. of Russian President Vladimir Putin, GBH News reported.
“This step is a rejection of the Russian government’s actions in Ukraine,” MIT said in a statement posted on the program’s website. “We take this with deep regret due to our great respect for the Russian people and our deep appreciation for the contributions of the many amazing Russian colleagues with whom we have worked.”
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The university said it is working with MIT researchers leading Skoltech projects to ensure students can complete their research and academic work.
About 21 faculty members and 38 students and postdoctoral researchers at MIT are affected by the change, although none are currently at the Moscow school, the Boston Globe reported.
The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology said in a statement to the newspaper that it has nine ongoing projects with MIT and remains “in close contact with our colleagues at MIT.”
MIT partnered with the nonprofit Skolkovo Foundation in 2011 to establish the research university as part of a Russian government effort to create a science and technology hub akin to California’s Silicon Valley or Kendall Square in Massachusetts.
As part of the agreement, MIT helped recruit students and faculty, hosted Skoltech students at MIT, and allowed MIT instructors to teach and pursue research at the Russian school, reported the Globe.
“We affirm our unwavering faith in our colleagues at Skoltech,” MIT said in its statement. “These are academic colleagues who have dedicated themselves to a philosophy of openness and who have contributed their own expertise and knowledge to build a unique and pioneering academic center in Russia.”
Follow AP’s coverage of Russia-Ukraine tensions at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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