News

Martin Schmidt - MIT launches “Solve” to galvanize action on solving the world’s great challenges

Leaders to gather for keystone event at MIT next October.
Technology Review
December 12, 2014

MIT will convene technologists, philanthropists, business leaders, policymakers, and social-change agents Oct. 5-8, 2015, for the launch of “Solve,” an effort to galvanize these leaders to drive progress on complex, important global challenges that MIT has singled out as urgent and ripe for progress. Curated by distinguished members of the MIT community, this highly collaborative event will take place at Kresge Auditorium and at various labs, classrooms, and facilities across the MIT campus.

Solve will organize challenges into four content pillars, identified by MIT as strategic targets for interdisciplinary research, problem solving, and collaboration:

  • Learn, curated by Anant Agarwal, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and CEO of edX, will focus on access to education, and digital and distance learning.
  • Cure, curated by Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at MIT and an affiliate of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, will examine the affordability of care, and advanced diagnostics and therapies.
  • Fuel, curated by Angela Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT, will focus on environmental sustainability, food and water security, and cleaner energy.
  • Make, curated by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and founder, chairman, and chief technology officer of Rethink Robotics, will delve into manufacturing, global infrastructure, and the future of work.

The curators will assemble challenge teams to address specific global issues in the developing and developed worlds, with short- and long-term goals for tackling pressing issues where serious progress is possible.

“Solving the world’s most pressing challenges depends in part on the kind of daring innovations and ideas that MIT is known for — and in fields from water, food, energy, and human health to innovation and education, our faculty are pioneering new answers,” MIT Provost Martin Schmidt says. “But lasting solutions to intractable human problems demand ambitious, sustained collaborative action, and require, from us, new ways of working with the world. Through Solve, we are connecting new ideas for action with people who, together, have the power to spark and accelerate meaningful change.”

The Solve event will include challenge working groups, student forums, and tours. The specific challenges associated with each pillar will be addressed at the Solve event, and work will continue throughout the year.

Solve is organized by MIT Technology Review in support of MIT’s interdisciplinary, collaborative Institute-wide priorities. The events are also being staged in conjunction with HUBweek, a weeklong gathering to celebrate the big ideas and bold solutions that emerge from the people, openness, and intellectual energy found in Greater Boston.