Appointed the 12th provost of MIT in 2014, Martin Schmidt serves as the Institute’s chief academic officer. He is responsible for advising MIT’s president on policies relating to MIT’s more than 1,000 faculty members and deans working within the Institute’s five schools, college, and 65 research laboratories and centers. In partnership with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, the Provost’s Office also plays a lead role in the development of MIT’s budget, capital planning, and development of MIT’s campus, buildings, and facilities. The Provost’s Office is also responsible for MIT’s relationships with industry via the Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer, which includes the Technology Licensing Office. Most recently, the Provost’s Office – in partnership with the Offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice President and Treasurer – collaborated on initiatives to respond to the operational and budgetary challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop MIT’s strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The following team of senior officers enable and lead the work of the Provost’s Office:

A tireless advocate for innovation and academic excellence, Provost Schmidt played a leading role in the development of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, which launched in 2019. With a charge of advancing computer science and a $1.1 billion commitment from MIT, the college is the most significant structural change to the Institute’s academic framework in 70 years. It represents the single largest investment in computing and artificial intelligence by an American academic institution.

Career at MIT

A distinguished MIT faculty member since 1988, Schmidt first joined MIT in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His teaching and research focus is on the study and design of micro and nanofabrication of sensors, actuators and electronic devices, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). From 1999 to 2006, he served as director of the Microsystems Technology Laboratories. He served as associate provost from 2008 to 2014, managing the Institute’s buildings, space, and facilities renovation and renewal budgets. In response to the 2008 financial crisis, he co-led the Institute’s 200-member Task Force on the Budget, a body charged with identifying and assessing opportunities to reduce costs at MIT. That work resulted in millions of dollars in savings or revenues generated and the identification of opportunities across campus for greater operational efficiencies.

As associate provost, Schmidt also served as the Institute’s faculty lead in support of MIT President Susan Hockfield’s role as co-chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP). Launched by President Barack Obama in 2011 with the goal of enhancing US global competitiveness, the initiative sought to convene industry, universities, and the federal government to identify and invest in emerging technologies with the potential to create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs. In 2012, the AMP published its recommendations, which resulted in the establishment of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Known today as Manufacturing USA, the network is a public-private partnership of 16 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country.

Industry activities

In addition to his academic pursuits, Schmidt consults with industry in the commercialization of technology. His research group transferred new technologies to industry, co-founding or serving as the co-inventor of the core technology of six start-up companies, including Verinata Health and Kateeva.  In 2013, Illumina acquired Verinata Health, which developed fetal diagnostic tools based on maternal blood draw. Kateeva is a leading supplier of equipment for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display manufacturing.

Honors and degrees

In 2016, MIT appointed Schmidt the Ray and Maria Stata Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), an international organization aimed at advancing technology, elected him a fellow in 2004 for his contributions to the design and fabrication of microelectromechanical systems. He received MIT’s Ruth and Joel Spira Teaching Award in 1994 and the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1991. He has also received a teaching award from MIT’s Eta Kappa Nu chapter, part of a national honor society for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

In 2002, Schmidt received an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Denmark. He earned a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1981, and SM and PhD degrees from MIT in 1983 and 1988, respectively.