Eric Evans to step down as director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory | MIT News

Eric Evans will likely be stepping down as director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory on July 1, 2024, after 18 years main a laboratory that has served the nation by way of its expertise analysis and growth since 1951.

Evans will transition into the function of fellow within the director’s workplace at Lincoln Laboratory. He can even maintain an appointment on the MIT campus as a senior fellow within the Safety Research Program. He’ll assist the continued development of collaborative analysis and growth between Lincoln Laboratory and the MIT campus, together with in areas associated to local weather change in addition to the exploration of superior expertise functions throughout the Safety Research Program.

The transition will mark the tip of a profitable tenure wherein Evans led the laboratory to adapt and strengthen throughout a time of great change for nationwide safety wants. He has additionally served as a key advisor on expertise technique to senior authorities leaders. 

“It has been an honor and privilege to steer MIT Lincoln Laboratory,” Evans says. “I actually admire what our laboratory neighborhood has achieved over a few years to develop a few of the nation’s most vital and tough technical developments.” 

Lincoln Laboratory is a federally funded analysis and growth middle that focuses on expertise growth, system prototyping, and functionality transition to the federal government, industrial corporations, and trade.

Underneath Evans’ management, the laboratory established new analysis and growth mission areas in cybersecurity, homeland safety, and biotechnology, and began new packages in humanitarian help and catastrophe reduction, local weather change expertise, quantum data science, and power system resilience. Evans has additionally strengthened ties with the MIT analysis neighborhood, elevated range and inclusion efforts, superior STEM schooling initiatives, and developed new fashions for expertise switch to small and medium-size industrial corporations.

Evans has additionally been a member and vice chair and is now chair of the Protection Science Board (DSB). The DSB investigates science and expertise wants for the U.S. Division of Protection and strives to resolve extremely unstructured issues and develop new alternatives for the protection of the nation.

“Throughout his twenty years of service to Lincoln Laboratory, Eric’s management has confirmed what an formidable R&D laboratory and a serious institute can obtain collectively: transformative enhancements to the techniques that hold the world secure, and an enduring affect on the observe of innovation itself,” says Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice chairman for analysis. “Eric has been forward of the curve in recognizing the worldwide implications of rising expertise areas, and he’s been a trusted advisor on science and expertise technique. The tradition of excellence, collaboration, and creativity that Eric has sustained at Lincoln Laboratory ensures its success properly into the long run. I’m grateful for his service and grateful that he’ll stay at MIT in his new roles.”

Zuber introduced Evans’ resolution in a letter to college and workers immediately. She’s going to appoint a search committee to advise on the choice of the laboratory’s subsequent director.

A profession in service

Evans began at Lincoln Laboratory in 1988 as a technical workers member. After being named director of Lincoln Laboratory in 2006, he instantly started working with laboratory leaders and workers to develop new mission areas and packages primarily based on nationwide wants. He labored with many on the laboratory to determine a big homeland-protection mission space to create sensors and information integration techniques to assist the wants of the Division of Homeland Safety. Underneath Evans’ management the laboratory developed new homeland air protection capabilities and chemical and organic sensor techniques to defend towards superior threats.

Later, the laboratory established a cybersecurity mission space to handle the dynamic threats posed by cyberattacks. By many new packages, Lincoln Laboratory researchers developed expertise to help within the safety of protection and civilian cyber networks and to enhance the cyber resilience of {hardware} and software program for brand new computing techniques.

The laboratory additionally began vital new work in biotechnology and human techniques to develop superior techniques for monitoring well being standing and helping in damage restoration for the Military and different sponsors. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Evans directed the laboratory to quickly apply its biotechnology assets to the issues of medical useful resource allocation, well being monitoring, computerized contact tracing, and virus dispersion evaluation. Many of those applied sciences proceed to be improved and transitioned to new functions.

Leveraging massive protection investments for airborne floor mapping sensors and communication networks, the laboratory established new packages for humanitarian help and catastrophe reduction, together with fast responses to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.

Evans has additionally centered on increasing different packages to handle civilian wants. For instance, new plane collision-avoidance and climate avoidance expertise developed with funding from the FAA has improved flight security worldwide.

NASA-funded packages have additionally benefited from Lincoln Laboratory initiatives. A serious milestone occurred in 2013 with the primary two-way demonstration of wide-bandwidth laser communication between the moon and Earth. This innovation opened up new prospects for NASA, which plans to make use of the expertise to relay information throughout interplanetary distances.

“Eric is a gifted and impactful chief who has transferred advances in innovation and analysis past the borders of the lab, in service to the world,” says MIT Provost Cynthia Barnhart. 

Stronger ties to MIT

Over the previous 15 years, the variety of Lincoln Laboratory analysis collaborations with MIT’s campus has elevated by almost an element of 4. The laboratory has expanded collaboration by offering funding for campus analysis, making a lot of its services out there for campus researchers, supporting undergraduate and graduate instructing, and posing new analysis questions.

As part of that collaboration, Lincoln Laboratory partnered with MIT’s College of Engineering in 2013 to determine the Beaver Works Middle at MIT. The ability permits collaborative prototyping and expertise growth by MIT researchers and Lincoln Laboratory technical workers.

Extra not too long ago, Lincoln Laboratory labored with the MIT Analysis Laboratory of Electronics to determine the Middle for Quantum Engineering to develop new applied sciences for quantum computing, sensing, and communication. Lincoln Laboratory can also be a contributor to the Division of the Air Power – MIT Synthetic Intelligence Accelerator program.

A outstanding instance of analysis collaboration was the 2018 launch of the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite tv for pc (TESS). Lincoln Laboratory labored intently with the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and House Analysis to develop the extremely delicate cameras onboard TESS, which since its launch has found many new planets orbiting distant stars.

Striving for an inclusive tradition and neighborhood service

All through his tenure, Evans has additionally taken steps to reinforce the laboratory’s tradition to be extra inclusive and supportive, considerably rising the share of girls and other people of colour in technical and management roles. He established an Workplace of Range and Inclusion, appointed a chief range and inclusion officer, and strengthened the Human Assets Division to enhance workers recruiting, growth, and retention.

To assist the nationwide want for extra numerous expertise, Evans served for six years because the chair of the board for the Nationwide GEM Consortium, a company that gives fellowships to underrepresented minorities pursuing graduate levels in STEM fields. By the efforts of many GEM volunteers and workers, the variety of GEM fellowships elevated considerably throughout Evans’ tenure main the board. “I deeply appreciated being concerned on this program supporting a critically vital want,” Evans says. “The GEM mission is excellent, and Lincoln Laboratory has very a lot benefited from their assist and from the distinctive GEM Fellows we’ve employed.”

Evans has additionally strongly supported the creation of many packages to advertise Okay-12 pupil curiosity in STEM fields. The laboratory’s STEM outreach packages have reached greater than 100,000 college students throughout the nation, with almost 8,000 college students per yr concerned in packages that embody constructing radars, designing small satellites, creating autonomous mannequin automobiles, and creating new cryptography algorithms.

Positioned for future success

Shifting ahead, Evans has positioned Lincoln Laboratory to proceed evolving its mission. The laboratory is at present pursuing analysis in rising expertise areas equivalent to synthetic intelligence, artificial biology, and quantum techniques and making main investments in new services and specialised laboratories.

As a part of its services modernization, the laboratory not too long ago broke floor for the development of a giant, $300M microelectronics laboratory to develop new expertise for sensing and computing. A second $300 million Division of Protection funding is for an engineering prototyping facility that can start building in 2026. A number of different new analysis and growth services are deliberate by way of a long-term services modernization plan supported by the DoD. “These services investments will allow the laboratory to stay a robust middle for creating revolutionary expertise for many years to come back,” Evans says.

After he steps down as director, Evans will proceed to work with the protection neighborhood to assist research for present and future protection system and expertise wants. He can even be creating and instructing programs associated to expertise for nationwide safety.

“MIT Lincoln Laboratory is a particular place, and I’ve actually loved the experiences of main and studying. I’m most happy with the numerous affect our artistic leaders and workers have had on nationwide safety and society over a few years,” Evans says.

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