March 21, 2016

"...the move of vanguard academic work in the field from openly-published scientific research to fiercely-guarded and proprietary corporate secrets"

the stack: Over a year ago the global ride-sharing behemoth Uber announced ‘a strategic partnership’ with the illustrious Carnegie Mellon University – a partnership which is reported today to have borne not one single collaboration, with the suggestion that an accompanying $5.5 million grant during the fruitless union actually constitutes an apology for Uber having head-hunted so many of the university’s staff into its own research programs. by Martin Anderson

'Herman Herman, the director of the university’s National Robotics Engineering Center, whose staff ‘migrated’ to Uber, confirmed that the much-vaunted February 2015 announcement had led to only one action of any kind – a gift from Uber six months later constituting a $5.5 million grant to support a new robotics facility chair and three Carnegie Mellon fellowships.

'Herman said: “I think they mostly realized the impact with that hiring and they want to make sure they do the right thing for the university,” and continued “It’s not a high priority for us to get joint work with them… Uber decided to give us a gift and that’s the extent of the relationship at this moment.”

'Raj Rajkumar, a professor at CMU’s College of Engineering, and also the director of its Transportation Center, is phlegmatic about Carnegie Mellon’s relationship with its newest and most powerful neighbour. “The best source of new employees would be from CMU,” he said. “It would make sense for them to have a very cordial relationship with CMU.”'

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