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Prof L Rafael Reif, PhD


L Rafael Reif, PhD

President Emeritus | Ray and Maria Stata Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Dr L Rafael Reif served as the 17th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the period 2012–2022.

In education, his central focus has been the development of online learning. The findings of his Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education spurred rapid adoption of blended learning models in MIT classrooms, inspired the creation of new forms of credentialing such as the MicroMasters, expanded educational access for learners around the globe, and equipped MIT to respond to Covid-19 with a quick pivot to remote learning.

In May 2021, Dr Reif and his leadership team released “Fast Forward: MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade.” Distinctive elements include MIT’s Climate Grand Challenges, an initiative to accelerate breakthrough ideas, and the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium, which unites leading companies in piloting and adopting climate solutions.

Dr Reif has made it a priority to equip the next generation of innovators with the tools to drive their ideas to impact. In October 2016, MIT launched The Engine, a venture firm geared to help new ventures turn “tough technologies” into innovations that address humanity’s great challenges. Dr Reif has led activities to support and stimulate innovation at MIT, including a new minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the MIT Morningside Academy of Design. Under his leadership, MIT has spearheaded the transformation of Kendall Square into a central force in Greater Boston’s biotech and innovation economy.

To advance the frontier of human and machine intelligence, in February 2018, Dr Reif announced the MIT Quest for Intelligence; that same month, recognizing the responsibility of technologists to understand the societal impacts of automation, he launched the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future. Later that year, Dr Reif announced the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, the most significant reshaping of the institute since the 1950s. He also led the creation of MIT.nano, a world-class facility for nanoscience and engineering research.

A member of the MIT faculty since 1980 and the inventor or co-inventor on 13 patents, Dr Reif has served as director of MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories, as head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and as provost.