MITRE team working on a FUSE antenna, created in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Independent Research

Experimentation is in our DNA.

Real innovation gets beyond brainstorming into trying and doing

We can move faster by exploring possibilities, testing a proof of concept, reiterating, and doing more testing and experimenting. And by combining creativity and technical expertise with knowledge of how a solution will be used, we get better outcomes.

MITRE’s public-interest mission enables us to make strategic investments in emerging technology, research new concepts, and expand on existing ones. Our independent research and development (R&D) program has turned ideas into reality for decades. The solutions that emerge address everything from our sponsors’ most complex problems to business and technology process improvements to over-the-horizon challenges, yet to be fully formed. 

Our research program differs from other corporate research activities in several ways. We pursue a cross-domain approach, take risks where others cannot, and practice applied research with significant results for the government and the nation. 

Another feature that sets our independent R&D apart: Anyone at MITRE with a great idea can receive funding for research. We offer our staff diverse opportunities to pursue bold, big, and risky research for the public good. 

Using a competitive process, we review ideas in multiple technologies and fields and fund the most promising proposals. Our Early Career Research Program encourages staff to propose and carry out research—and be matched with a mentor during the year-long effort. We even have a “rapid starts” initiative that provides support to budding ideas deserving further exploration before they’re fully funded, thereby injecting increased agility in the overall independent R&D portfolio.

Through 200+ projects annually, we develop novel solutions—then put our successful innovations into the hands of our government sponsors and other stakeholders to enable their future critical missions. 

MITRE's Story

We discover innovative ways to tackle seemingly unsolvable problems. What makes MITRE different is why we pursue innovation: to help make the world safer.

Research Yields Results

We use our insights into the R&D landscape and emerging challenges to align our program with government needs, anticipating what will affect our sponsors now—and five to 10 years out. And we take solutions from one domain and apply them to others. In this way, we pay it forward, problem-solving for the public good.

Our researchers take their ideas to the field, publish results, work with end users and with industry, as appropriate, to ensure affordable, sustainable prototypes. Our patents and technology licenses range across dozens of technical domains, including versatile image sensors, cybersecurity defenses, displays for air traffic control, and digital communications systems. Over the last 15 years alone, we’ve received nearly 200 patents and granted nearly 1,800 licenses.

Some of the topics we’re currently pursuing include: 

  • Agile Acquisition: Streamlining programs and processes to help government save time and money.
  • Aviation & Transportation: Improving safety and efficiency on air and ground. 
  • Cybersecurity: Prototyping new methods for protecting crucial information and systems. 
  • Cutting-edge Communications: Pioneering resilient communications for a variety of national security uses. 
  • Decision Making: Shrinking time between collecting data and transforming it into effective, usable information, such as recommended courses of action. 
  • Health: Advancing data interoperability, improving healthcare access and equity.
  • National Security: Ensuring the U.S. national security enterprise retains its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance advantage.  
  • Emerging Technologies: Unraveling the value of quantum computing, 6G, advanced materials, differential privacy, and more. 

From cyber resilience to quantum computing, MITRE is investigating new approaches to both today’s and tomorrow’s problems and delivering novel solutions to meet the challenges facing our world.

Collaborate With Us

Recent Successes

ATT&CK framework on an office wall

ATT&CK

Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK®)—a free online knowledge base of cyber adversary behaviors and patterns once they’re inside a network.

Digital Copilot used in the FRASCA simulator

Digital Co-Pilot

A prototype information system that provides “a second set of eyes” for general aviation pilots.

Small FUSE antenna up close

FUSE

Frequency-scaled Ultra-wide Spectrum Element: A new class of antenna with wide-ranging applications.

Clinician interacting with a pediatric patient while a female caregiver is present

mCODE

MITRE and partners developed a common data standard and language for oncology that permits cancer specialists to combine results of treatments for millions of patients. Wide adoption of mCODE will improve all cancer patients’ care.

Employee working in the Quantum Lab

Photonic Quantum Memory

A patented technology that is facilitating the development of a quantum computer. It's just one breakthrough from our Quantum Information Sciences group, which is working toward building the first universal, scalable quantum computer

Researchers reviewing scientific data

Synthea

A tool for creating simulated patient records widely adopted by academia, government, and business.

ATT&CK framework on an office wall

ATT&CK

Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK®)—a free online knowledge base of cyber adversary behaviors and patterns once they’re inside a network.

Digital Copilot used in the FRASCA simulator

Digital Co-Pilot

A prototype information system that provides “a second set of eyes” for general aviation pilots.

Small FUSE antenna up close

FUSE

Frequency-scaled Ultra-wide Spectrum Element: A new class of antenna with wide-ranging applications.

Clinician interacting with a pediatric patient while a female caregiver is present

mCODE

MITRE and partners developed a common data standard and language for oncology that permits cancer specialists to combine results of treatments for millions of patients. Wide adoption of mCODE will improve all cancer patients’ care.

Employee working in the Quantum Lab

Photonic Quantum Memory

A patented technology that is facilitating the development of a quantum computer. It's just one breakthrough from our Quantum Information Sciences group, which is working toward building the first universal, scalable quantum computer

Researchers reviewing scientific data

Synthea

A tool for creating simulated patient records widely adopted by academia, government, and business.

Independent Research

Nudge Research Program

A resource that helps guide people to make better decisions—through small choices with big impact

Our Impact

Intellectual Property

Many of MITRE’s innovations are available to license.