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MLE Closes

MLE Closes

January 14, 2005

Dublin, Ireland

Media Lab Europe was an ambitious project of the Irish government. Although it was billed as a joint Irish-MIT undertaking, the Irish side fronted the action money.

MLE worked in human-human and human-computer interfaces. It was expensive research because of expensive overheads. This expensive allowed ideas to gestate--at a cost higher than similar research inside Irish universities. And that proved to be the undoing of the project because it was not financially sustainable. It had a single, yet powerful, advocate in the Department of the Taoiseach. But even the head of government runs out of money for pet projects. When the bean counters drew a line under any additional handouts, the principals could not reach an agreement about the conditions needed to sustain the arrangement. So the Media Lab people folded up their tent and moved back to Cambridge, Massachusetts. The shell of their building remains, potentially as home to a collaborative research centre for Irish universities. It's a big space with significant concerns inside academia about sustaining its presence as a research centre.

Also seen by IrishEyes -- "Beyond MLE"