CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts —
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to cut ties with a research university it helped establish in Russia more than a decade ago, citing Russia’s “unacceptable military actions” in invading Ukraine.
The Cambridge-based university said it notified the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow that it was exercising its right to end the MIT Skoltech Program.
Federal law enforcement officials and foreign policy experts have long raised concerns about the potential for espionage and technology theft that could stem from MIT’s partnership with the Russian institute, closely linked to the government of the Russian president. Vladimir Putin, GBH News reported.
“This step is a rejection of the Russian government’s actions in Ukraine,” MIT said in a statement posted on the program’s website.
“We take this with deep regret out of our great respect for the Russian people and our deep appreciation for the contributions of the many extraordinary Russian colleagues with whom we have worked.”
The Russian university said it is working with MIT researchers who are leading Skoltech projects to ensure students can complete their research and academic papers.
About 21 faculty and 38 postdoctoral students and researchers at MIT will be affected by the change, though none of them are currently at the institute in Moscow, the Boston Globe reported.
The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology indicated in a statement to that newspaper that it has nine ongoing projects with the Cambridge-based university and continues “in close contact with our colleagues at MIT.”
MIT partnered with the nonprofit Skolkovo Foundation in 2011 to establish the research university, part of a Russian government initiative to create a science and technology hub similar to California’s Silicon Valley or Plaza Kendall of Massachusetts.