It’s sad news indeed that Media Lab Europe (MLE), the European research partner of MIT Media Lab in the US, is to close.
Neither of the Lab’s main stakeholders – MIT itself, and the Irish government – was prepared to fund the Lab once it became clear that it would not become self-financing through corporate funding for its research. MLE was on its third director in as many years when the decision to close was made, but these individuals were not the reason MLE failed. It was doomed by a businesss plan written during the tech boom which they had to implement during a tech bust. What will be hurting the 100 people at MLE the most, right now, is the knowledge that they were only just getting going. It takes years to build momentum in a research institute, and over the past year MLE had started to carve out its own agenda and develop an independent personality. It’s a rotten business that it had to stop right now.