The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has cut all ties to a Russian research university that it established more than a decade ago. It cited Russia’s “unacceptable military activities” in invading Ukraine.
According to the university of Cambridge, it notified Moscow’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology on Friday that it had exercised its right not to terminate the MIT Skoltech Program.
Foreign policy experts and federal law enforcement officials have expressed concerns over the possibility of espionage from MIT’s partnership. The school has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. GBH News reported.
“This is a rejection to the actions by the Russian government in Ukraine,” MIT stated in a statement , which was posted on the program website. “We regret it deeply because we have deep respect for Russian people and profound appreciation for the extraordinary contributions of many Russian colleagues with whom we have worked.”
According to the university, it will work with MIT researchers who are leading Skoltech projects in order to ensure that students can finish their academic work.
The change has impacted approximately 21 faculty members, 38 students, and 38 postdoctoral researchers at MIT, although none of them are currently in Moscow, according to The Boston Globe .
According to the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, nine projects are ongoing with MIT and they remain “in close contact” with each other.
In 2011, MIT partnered up with the Skolkovo Foundation to create the research university. This was part of a Russian government initiative to establish a science-tech hub similar to California’s Silicon Valley and Massachusetts’ Kendall Square.
The Globe reported that MIT assisted in recruiting students and faculty, hosted Skoltech student at MIT, as well as allowing MIT instructors to teach at the Russian school.
“We affirm our steadfast faith in our colleagues from Skoltech,” MIT stated in its statement. They are fellow scholars who have dedicated themselves to an ethos that is open and have contributed their expertise and knowledge in order to create a unique academic center in Russia.