Northeastern and Facebook partner on next generation research projects

Facebook announced on Wednesday that Northeastern is one of 17 research universities selected to partner with the company on next generation, joint technology projects. The Sponsored Academic Research Agreement makes it easy for research faculty and labs to work together with Facebook.

The agreement was created by Building 8, the new team at Facebook that applies DARPA-style breakthrough innovation to the development of new hardware products.

“The B8 team has hardware and software experts who have shipped more than 1.7B consumer devices in 170 countries,” Regina Dugan, vice president of engineering at Facebook and B8 leader, said in a Facebook post announcing the new partnerships. Developing and shipping breakthrough products, Dugan said, is “why we work, in partnership, with entrepreneurs, engineering teams, system integrators, and businesses large and small–globally. And it’s why we have built partnerships with many of the best research minds in the world.”

In characterizing the joint technology projects Building 8 and the partner universities will take on, Facebook’s announcement mentioned making it easier for Facebook and research faculty to work together on aggressive timelines.

“When the brightest minds from universities and industry team up, new futures are created,” said Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun. “Facebook has already changed the way humans connect with one another; we are excited to write the next chapter in social interactivity by working together.”

In addition to Northeastern, Facebook has signed agreements with Caltech, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Rice, UCSF, Princeton, the University of Illinois, Arizona State, the University of Waterloo, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and UC Berkeley.

“We are excited to be part of the inaugural team of universities that have signed this agreement,” said Nadine Aubry, dean of the College of Engineering and University Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. “Our engineering faculty and students will be thrilled to apply their expertise and innovative approaches to work jointly with Building 8 on revolutionary technologies that will change the world.”

The agreement with Facebook builds on Northeastern’s longstanding tradition of partnering with industry to accelerate innovation into the marketplace through cutting-edge research.