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23/2/2017  
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EDUCATION
Sponsored Academic Research Agreement (SARA)

Facebook partners with 17 Universities to promote academic research


Facebook´s Building 8 research team has reportedly signed collaboration deals with 17 universities to invest in the development of future technology. The Sponsored Academic Research Agreement (SARA) was led by Regina Dugan, current Building 8 head.
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The deal allows Facebook to engage with individual faculty members and labs on joint technology projects in just 30 days instead of the months it often takes for deals to be signed.

The 17 initial members of SARA include Rice University, California Institute of Technology, Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

Other members include the University of California at San Francisco, Northeastern, Princeton, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State, the University of Waterloo, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

Facebook has yet to release any word on what kinds of projects B8 and the signed-on universities will be working on — though previous Facebook technological endeavors have included its Aquila solar-powered drone project, the Oculus Rift VR headsets, and investigation into artificial intelligence, among a plethora of other technological endeavors.

In the past, Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted about Building 8 on Facebook, saying the company planned to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the group over the next few years, with an expectation to see significant breakthroughs across important areas, such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and connectivity. This SARA move will no doubt foster new advancements in the aforementioned areas.

Facebook is hoping to tap "the best research minds in the world" to speed up product development, Dugan said. The academic institutions, which include Stanford, Harvard and MIT, will be paid a fee by Facebook, according to TechCrunch.

 

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