MITRE works across government and in partnership with industry to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation. Headquartered in McLean, VA and Bedford, MA, MITRE manages seven federally funded research and development centers. MITRE strives to augment internal staff capabilities with academia’s creative ideas and resources to deliver innovative solutions to meet the pressing issues of today. MITRE is a nonprofit organization that works in a variety of fields including artificial intelligence, intuitive data science, quantum information science, health informatics, space security, policy, and economic expertise, trustworthy autonomy, cyber threat sharing, and cyber resilience.

Through a program called the University Innovation Exchange (UIX), MITRE partnered with nine Virginia universities, including Virginia Tech. As of Spring 2020, MITRE plans to fund four Virginia Tech research projects, focusing on artificial intelligence, 5G wireless networks, and space research, totaling approximately $400,000 worth of funding.

The Office of Economic Development has been involved with MITRE since Fall 2017 after the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) reached out to OED to participate in conversations with MITRE and help set up a university consortium. Afroze Mohammed, Associate Director for Strategic Alliances and lead point of contact for Virginia Tech, said, “I have enjoyed working with MITRE and my peers at other universities across the state. Instead of having to compete, research teams can collaborate and in some cases have even submitted proposals together.”

Along with funding research projects, MITRE is coordinating a working group centering on space research, called the UIX-Space Working Group. This group will address various problems including environment monitoring, transportation, and system resilience. George Mason University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech will work together on the project, forming goals and research questions, after which they will invite other UIX universities to participate.

MITRE is also working on creating a capstone portal to connect MITRE’s capstone proposals with university partners. The program is expected to start at William and Mary during the Fall 2020 semester. After MITRE employees submit capstone ideas into the online portal, universities will select viable proposals and initiate discussions with students. Next, the capstone projects will be executed with MITRE funds. These capstone projects are a pipeline for student internships and employment at MITRE. Capstones will help students gain valuable job experience and connections that can help them later on in their careers.

“This provides a platform for MITRE employees to submit project ideas that align with critical government needs, then work with university students to conduct initial research and develop prototypes,” said Scott Holmdahl, MITRE’s project lead for the Capstones Portal and the program manager for the University Innovation Exchange. “The Capstone Portal enables MITRE to expand its talent pipeline and strengthen its partnership with Virginia Tech while paving the way for internships and job offers for talented students.”