Buried in the Chronicle‘s investigative piece on the MIT Media Lab’s Caleb Harper:
The Media Lab’s funding structure is unusual. The lab’s operating budget is $75 million a year. “Member” companies, which tend to be megacorporations like Google and Nike, pay an annual fee of at least $250,000 in exchange for access to the technology that’s developed there. Representatives from the companies visit the lab twice a year to learn about the researchers’ progress.
With the Epstein scandal in the news, the Lab’s deep ties to business are getting more news. Yes, lots of good work happens there, but the Lab has long been—at the same time—an outsourced R&D operation.