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Facebook Partners with 17 Universities to Advance Hardware Technology

Updated: December 22, 2016

Facebook’s Building 8 research team has signed a deal with 17 universities to advance hardware development. The Sponsored Academic Research Agreement (SARA), led by Regina Dugan, will “make it easier and faster for B8 to work with university researchers, not in the 9-12 months that’s typically required, but within weeks.”

As noted on their Facebook page, Building 8 “is focused on building new hardware products to advance [Facebook’s] mission of connecting the world.”

With the 17 universities already on board with the SARA, it appears that Facebook is on their way to building a world class team.  

The schools on board so far include:

Stanford, MIT, Harvard University, Caltech, Rice, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Northeastern, Princeton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State University, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.

Ms. Dugan joined Facebook in April of this year to head B8. In announcing her arrival, Marc Zuckerberg noted, “I’m excited to have Regina apply Darpa-style breakthrough development at the intersection of science and products to our mission,” referring to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. “This method is characterized by aggressive, fixed timelines, extensive use of partnerships with universities, small and large businesses, and clear objectives for shipping products at scale.”

Dugan won the heart of many in silicon valley with her 2012 Ted talk.

“When you remove the fear of failure, impossible things suddenly become possible.” Surely, the impossible will become possible with the collaborative efforts of Facebook and the university research teams.

The B8 team at Facebook will likely play a pivotal role in implementing Facebook’s 10 year plan as outlined at the F8 conference earlier this year. The B8 Team has previously worked on projects in the areas of virtual reality, artificial intelligence and connectivity.

While Facebook did not reveal specific projects that the university research teams will be working on, it is no doubt that with “the best research minds in the world,” this collaboration will foster technological breakthroughs that will transform theories into realities.

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Yoora is the Creative Director at The University Network.