Ned Rossiter on Wed, 19 Jan 2005 14:56:37 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> closure of Media Lab Europe

[what does this tell us about the media lab model? aside from the
hype-economy that attends the media lab & the ultimate disinterest by
government to invest in institutions of the knowledge economy, does
this also say something about the limits of scale?  is there a lesson
here for networks that seek to scale up their operations -- ie, develop
frameworks, systems, relations that enable an economic sustainability
that hitherto has not been a feature of tactical media, by and large? 

14 January 2005

Board of Directors announces closure of Media Lab Europe

Media Lab Europe Press Statement

  Dublin; January 14 - The Board of Directors of Media Lab Europe
announced today that it is putting the company into voluntary solvent

  The decision was taken because its principal stakeholders - the Irish
Government and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) =96 have
not reached agreement on a new funding model for the organisation.

  Media Lab Europe was launched in 2000 as a ground-breaking research
and innovation laboratory in the fields of digital technologies. Since
its establishment, it has built up expertise in a range of innovative
research. It grew to a community of around 100 people, covering staff,
researchers, students, collaborators and part-time undergraduate

  A substantial array of projects, many of truly ground-breaking
potential, have been developed over the past four years in association
with its partners including companies like AIB (Ireland) AOL (US and
Ireland), BT (UK), Ericsson (Sweden), Essilor (France), Intel (US and
Ireland) and Orange (UK/France), and development agencies like
Highlands and Islands Enterprise in Scotland.

  The Board believes that it is important to acknowledge the innovative
work of the Lab since it was established. Much of this work has been
coming to fruition in recent months, with fourteen patent applications
filed and a number of commercialisation opportunities being explored.=

  Media Lab Europe was pleased with the introduction of MIT's Masters
degree programme in Media, Arts and Sciences to Ireland.

  There have been over 20 collaborative projects with Irish universities
under way where faculty and students from the university collaborate
with Media Lab Europe researchers, with activity taking place at both
centres. This provided a number of Irish third-level institutes with
exposure to MIT innovation.

  The Lab also participated in a number of EU-funded international
research collaborations, including FASIL (Flexible and Adaptive Spoken
Language and Multi-Modal Interfaces) and a Network of Excellence called
ENACTIVE, under the EU IST Priority heading =93Multimodal Interfaces=94.

  Initial funding for the lab came from the Irish Government and it was
expected to gradually become self-financing through securing corporate
funding for its research activities. However, the climate of the = past
four years has proven extremely difficult for the lab, MIT and the
international ICT sector.

  Last year the Lab advised its main stakeholders that the levels of
external funding being raised were insufficient to sustain it into the
future. Subsequently, in May, it presented a Strategic Plan to the
Government and MIT seeking additional funding.

  The Board would like to record its appreciation of the special
dedication and outstanding contribution made by the Lab's staff, who
have contributed so much over the organisation's relatively short
history. Many of the staff came to Ireland from all over Europe and the
US to take up positions with the laboratory.

  For more information, please contact

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