A New Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

February 01, 2012

To the members of the MIT community,

We are pleased to formally announce the establishment of an Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES). IMES is being established in the School of Engineering, with strong ties to and faculty from the School of Science and other schools as appropriate. This action follows from the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee to Explore Options for the Structure of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Efforts at MIT, which was released in May of last year. The committee envisioned the institute as a focal point and platform for research and education in medical engineering and science. We agree with the committee’s conclusion that the new institute would greatly increase the visibility and effectiveness of research and education in medical engineering and science, and serve as a robust home for the “unique and exceptional” HST program at MIT.

The IMES concept has received strong endorsements from HST faculty and the broader HST community including student groups and our colleagues at Harvard Medical School, other interested faculty at MIT, Engineering Council, the Deans and Academic Council, and most recently, the Corporation Visiting Committee for HST.

All supporters recognize that further work is needed to fully define the vision and mission of IMES, address its responsibility for the HST program, and define the detailed management structure, initial resource base, founding faculty roster, and initial leadership team. The companion letter from the Dean of Engineering announces first key steps and processes for engaging the community in moving forward. The previously  established IMES Steering Committee (consisting of the Deans of Engineering and Science and the Vice President for Research and Associate Provost) will continue to provide oversight during the transition. Our intention is that IMES be formally established at the beginning of the next MIT fiscal year, on July 1, 2012.

Much work is still required. We thank all those who have contributed their time, wisdom and advice during the many steps leading to this milestone, and who will continue contributing during this critical implementation phase. We particularly want to acknowledge the accomplishments of HST co-director Ram Sasisekharan, whose leadership of HST at MIT through difficult times has been essential in enabling the formation of IMES. We also thank the Ad Hoc Committee, the HST Faculty Standing Committee, and the many other faculty, staff and students who contributed their thoughtful comments and advice.

L. Rafael Reif

Claude R. Canizares
Vice President for Research and Associate Provost