RLE News Articles

The Jack Turner Entrepreneurship Award

The Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) in collaboration with the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation is pleased to announce the Jack TurnerEntrepreneurship Award. The award will complement grants from the Deshpande Center and provide support to entrepreneurial Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Associates performing research within RLE.

The Jack Turner Entrepreneurship Award is being established with a generous $1M gift from Professor Jae Lim of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Advanced Telecommunications Research Program within RLE. The gift honors the extraordinary contributions of Mr. Jack Turner, currently the Senior Associate Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Technology Licensing Office (TLO).  Mr. Turner’s leadership embodies the entrepreneurial spirit for which the MIT community is so well known. In particular, the fund acknowledges Mr. Jack Turner’s contribution to the HDTV Technology Licensing Program, which has provided invaluable financial support to the RLE community.

Jack Turner joined the TLO in February of 1993 after working for more than twenty-five years in engineering and senior management positions at three Boston-area, high-tech companies. During his tenure at the TLO, Turner has played a role in the licensing of technology to more than 500 companies, including approximately 150 start-ups. Many of these were based on inventions from RLE. Notable technologies managed by Jack have included 3-D printing, optical coherence tomography, optics, lasers, advanced optical fibers, network communications, displays, robotics, batteries, semiconductor materials and fabrication, plasmatrons, cyclotrons, magnetics, photovoltaics, autonomous vehicles, and, for more than 20 years, HDTV.

The Deshpande Center mission is to move MIT technologies from the laboratories at MIT to the marketplace.  The Center provides grant funding, mentoring and support to MIT faculty and students to help them commercialize their technologies.

The TLO mission is to move innovations and discoveries from the lab to the marketplace for the benefit of the public and to amplify MIT’s global impact. The TLO cultivates an inclusive environment of scientific and entrepreneurial excellence, and bridge connections from MIT’s research community to industry and startups, by strategically evaluating, protecting, and licensing technology. Reflecting on the establishment of this award, Jack remarks, “ I truly appreciate Jae’s generosity and recognition of what everyone at the TLO did over a period of 22 years to license more than 20 patents to digital television manufacturers . . . the collaboration between RLE and the TLO played a pivotal role in the successful development of the techniques used for coding digital television programming, enabled by these inventions. I appreciate that this gift will support future generations of MIT entrepreneurs and foster continued innovation.”

In January 2019 the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation will be announcing a call for proposals which will include applications for the Jack TurnerEntrepreneurship Award. Funds will provide MIT graduate stipend and tuition support, or salary support awarded competitively to MIT doctoral students or postdocs working under the mentorship of RLE faculty.