MIT Media lab breaks up : http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.05/mitlab.html?pg=1&topic=&topic_set=
Research centres like this have been fairly redundant. As have equivalent research centres in-house of large corporations.
The most exciting internet work seems to come from external individuals or small groups :
Why do research groups, who have lots of money and freedom to pursue their own aims NOT deliver?
Academic research groups try to cram research into their typical structures :
- One or two year master's projects or three to seven year PhDs.
- Three year granted research assistants working for a professor.
In companies, the research is treated as a luxury. Suddenly support disappears, and the group is forced to focus on satisfying plausible customers. (InnovatorsDilemma)
Where corporate research centres succeed (as with XeroxParc), it's probably because they have a bona fide genius like AlanKay.
Disengagement from real problems
But perhaps freedom is the problem. Researchers are disengaged from real problems and real requirements. Without this constraint, their dreams are contentless.
Academic venture capitalists? A cross between the venture capital model and academia. An AVC is a small group who are given money to fund independant researchers / thinkers/ small project groups which are NOT within a laboratory. They fund a piece of research by an independent scholar in return for some kind of academic deliverable. Some traditional academic measures (published papers), some new indexes which have to be thought out ...
See also :