CME Being Funded Another Year

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: The March 6 article “CME Being Funded Another Year” mistakenly stated that applications for the Cambridge-MIT Exchange “are due in the next few weeks.” Actually, the deadline has already passed and the evalution process has been started, although interested students can still contact their departments or the Study Abroad Office to submit an application, according to Malgorzata Hedderick, assistant dean for the Study Abroad Office.

The Cambridge-MIT Institute is providing funding for the Cambridge-MIT Exchange program in what will be the last year of the CMI. Funding from CMI for the exchange program was originally supposed to last until 2006, and it was uncertain where funding for CME would come from. CMI is expected to fold up in 2008, and other funding sources will need to be found for CME.

According to Malgorzata Hedderick, assistant dean for the Office of Study Abroad, the number of MIT students in next year’s program will be reduced to 25 because of the loss of funding from CMI next year. There are currently 34 MIT students in Cambridge and 36 Cambridge students at MIT.

“We are working with Dean [for the Office of Undergraduate Education Daniel E.] Hastings PhD ’80 … to find funding” and “to look for sustainable ways to move forward,” Hedderick said. The loss of funding from CMI has no effect on other study abroad programs, she said.

CMI was established in 2000 with £65 million from the British government “in order to invest in collaborative research and educational programs,” said William A. Lucas, deputy director of CMI. The initial phase of CMI closed in November 2006 and a second phase which will last 18 months has been started with £1.5 million.

CMI was founded in 2000 “to address some of the important issues underlying economic growth,” according to the CMI Web site. CME, on the other hand, is the exchange program that allows 30-40 students from MIT to switch places for one year with students at Cambridge University.

According to Lucas, CMI is not expected to “be around in its current form after March 2008” and “won’t be around to make contributions to CME“ after that but will be providing funding for this year. The amount of funding is not predetermined. At the end of the year, the “CME office will give us a bill and we will reimburse them” for the expense of student stipends and administrative costs.

Lucas dismissed the possibility of the CMI contract being extended because “they feel the project did what it was supposed to do.” “About half of the money has been spent in research collaborations … which have led to the design of a very quiet aircraft“ and led to the establishment of OrthoMimethics, a company which has “developed an improved protein for hip and knee implants.” There are about 30–40 other projects, according to Lucas.

Lucas said that the absence of CMI funding might mean a slight reduction in he number of students exchanged. “One of the remarkable results of the program is that for five years about 3 percent of each class has spent a year in Cambridge.

According to Hedderick, the main cost of the CME program is the $4,500 each CME student receives. This stipend would “make it easier for students” in light of the high living expenses in the United Kingdom and the exchange rate. According to Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75, MIT’s goal is to give students access to study abroad programs “regardless of their financial need which means raising additional funds for financial aid.”

“We have funding for the next year or two and will have to raise funding beyond that,” said Clay in an e-mail. “Support for CME will be part of a larger commitment to support study abroad. We have a number of good models — CME, MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives), and smaller department programs. We are excited by various ‘laboratories’ such as D-Lab.”

Hedderick said that the CME office has received over 30 applications from sophomores interested in the program and hopes to have about 40 application within the next few days. The CME office selects students based on their applications and department recommendations. Applications for CME are due in the next few weeks, according to Hedderick.