L. Rafael Reif
L. Rafael Reif
Since July 2012, Rafael Reif has served as the 17th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is leading MIT’s pioneering efforts to help shape the future of higher education. A champion for both fundamental science and MIT’s signature style of interdisciplinary, problem-centered research, he is also pursuing an aggressive agenda to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
In education, his central focus has been the development of the institute’s latest experiments in online learning, MITx and edX, which he spearheaded in his previous role as MIT provost. As of November 2018, the open online learning platform edX had engaged more than 18.4 million unique learners. The final report of his Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education spurred rapid adoption of blended learning models in MIT classrooms and the October 2015 announcement of a MicroMaster’s credential from MITx, the institute’s portfolio of massive open online courses.
In keeping with MIT’s mission to “bring knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges,” in May 2014, Reif launched the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, and in October 2015, Reif and his leadership team issued MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change, centered on research, education, campus sustainability, and a strategy of industry engagement.
To enhance MIT’s innovation ecosystem and equip the next generation of innovators to drive their ideas to impact, in October 2016 Reif launched The Engine, an accelerator specially geared to help “tough tech” ventures deliver innovations that address humanity’s great challenges. Additional steps include the October 2013 launch of the MIT Innovation Initiative, the creation of the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, a new Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund Program.
To accelerate research and innovation at the nanoscale, MIT constructed MIT.nano, a major new facility at the heart of campus. And because MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem extends well beyond the campus, Reif is leading an ambitious, decade-long redevelopment initiative in Kendall Square.
To advance the frontier of human and machine intelligence to accelerate the invention of artificial intelligence tools for every discipline, in February 2018 Reif announced the MIT Quest for Intelligence. That same month saw the start of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future. And in October 2018, in response to the ubiquity of computing and the rise of AI across disciplines, he announced the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, the most significant reshaping of MIT since the 1950s.
On May 6, 2016, Reif announced the $5 billion “MIT Campaign for a Better World.”
A member of the MIT faculty since 1980, Reif has served as director of MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories, as associate department head for Electrical Engineering, as head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and as provost.
An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, he is the inventor or co-inventor on 13 patents, has edited or co-edited five books and has supervised 38 doctoral theses. He received the degree of Ingeniero Eléctrico from Universidad de Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela, and his doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.