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MITRE Partnerships with the Private Sector Deliver Public Benefit

By Denise Schiavone

MITRE’s partnerships with industry bring the best capabilities, tools, and insights to help solve the toughest national and global problems—and enable us to contribute to a robust technology market. 

Industry partnerships are particularly critical to what we do,” says Barry Costa, MITRE director of partnerships, licensing, and intellectual property.

That might sound surprising, considering MITRE’s longstanding role as a not-for-profit company without commercial interests. But there’s more to the story.

Today’s national challenges are multi-faceted and complex, evolving practically by the minute. Ensuring election integrity. Addressing vaccine hesitancy. Advancing cyber resiliency. No single government agency, company, or university can do it alone. Problems this big require a collaborative, holistic approach.

MITRE serves as an unbiased and trusted partner, bridging the public and private sectors to tackle such challenges together.

“We want to bring the best that private industry can offer to support our government sponsors and contribute to our mission of solving problems for a safer world,” Costa explains.

As a national resource for U.S. security, prosperity, and resilience, we’ve long collaborated with industry on various innovations. But this concerted focus on industry partnerships really took shape over the last two years.

Working through MITRE-operated federal R&D centers, our labs and platforms, and our tech foundation MITRE Engenuity, the strategic partnerships team actively fosters opportunities to engage with the private sector. The team also ensures such engagements don’t create unintended commercial conflicts of interest.

We’re at an inflection point—no one organization or sector can succeed alone. We have to get it right, and that will only happen working together. 

Jim Cook, Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Partnerships

It’s very much a two-way street. Industry partners contribute to how we address our nation’s biggest challenges. And we offer systems thinking, understanding of the government acquisition landscape, and forward-looking intellectual property to help advance private-sector innovations. And it’s all done in the public interest.

For example, when COVID-19 hit, industry leaders asked us to help convene key stakeholders to maximize the success of our healthcare system against the pandemic. The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition was born, co-chaired with our partner, Mayo Clinic.

This public-private sector collaboration brings together 1,000+ companies in a non-competitive way to work together toward common goals. Under other circumstances, many of the coalition members would compete. But to join the coalition, we made sure members cooperated and shared openly—and exclusively for the country’s benefit.

The Power of Networking

Networks of strategic partnerships not only help us address global challenges like pandemics and stabilizing world financial markets, but they also contribute to a flourishing marketplace for technology-based solutions.

These include capabilities in artificial intelligence, a key driver of our future economy. MITRE’s Generation AI Nexus connects interdisciplinary teams across industry, academia, and government to make the U.S. more competitive in this area.

Additionally, while partnerships with industry leaders like Microsoft and IBM bring transformative impact, some highly promising innovations emerge from newly established companies.

MITRE’s Bridging Innovation works with organizations like MassChallenge, an international startup accelerator, to engage innovators of all sizes around the world. We’re helping startups in Boston, Texas, and Rhode Island to connect with potential government customers and navigate the federal contracting landscape. That gives a much-needed lift to small companies, so they can contribute to solving big problems.

Successes from MassChallenge inform several of our other innovation initiatives. For example, our partnerships with StartUP FIU and Capital Factory strive to enable the success of entrepreneurs in Miami and Texas.

Whether partnering with small businesses, large corporations, or other not-for-profits, collaboration is key.

“The scope of today’s challenges to U.S. competitiveness, equitable opportunities for economic growth, and the need to address critical problems in national safety and security require a new level of partnership,” says Jim Cook, MITRE vice president for strategic engagement and partnerships.

“We’re at an inflection point—no one organization or sector can succeed alone. We have to get it right, and that will only happen working together. There’s a wealth of opportunity to engage across government, academia, and industry and find new ways to help solve these major challenges.”

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