MIT Global Research Network

The Global Research Network (GRN) is an MIT-led network of researchers, generating comparative international research to help reach data-driven conclusions on topics related to the work of the future, as well as other relevant topics.

This network is building on the foundation established by the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future. With the publication of the Task Force’s final report in fall 2020, new initiatives like the GRN will be one mechanism for continuing the Task Force’s work and impact.

The MIT Industrial Performance Center (IPC) will oversee the GRN.  Elisabeth Reynolds is the executive director of both the Work of the Future and the IPC. Launching the GRN under her leadership will maintain synergy and momentum behind MIT’s considerable efforts focused on the work of the future.

One of GRN’s initial pilot projects, led by Senior Researcher Timothy Sturgeon, involves collaboration in three countries: Brazil, Malaysia, and Turkey. The research explores the relationship between the adoption of emerging technologies and work with the intent to generate internationally comparable knowledge about how emerging technologies are shaping innovation, industrial performance, international competitiveness, and the work of the future. This initial research focuses on the manufacturing sector and the adoption of new, emerging technologies including networked production systems, cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

The study uses both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, developed and managed by MIT, including:

  • Representative web survey of medium and large sized establishments in the manufacturing sector, focused on enterprise demographics, level of automation, adoption of general and specific advanced digital technologies, sources of technology, technology investment and source of funds, internal barriers to adoption, workforce characteristics, etc.
  • Semi-structured interviews with technology providers and adopters. With technology providers, the focus is on products and services, impact of technology adoption on customers, influences of external environment, and local comparisons to the global frontier.  With technology adopters, the focus is on company characteristics, technology adoption experiences and plans, the impacts on work and training, operational performance, and the influences of the external environment.

Other research projects and collaborations with international partners are expected to be launched in the coming months. Details of these projects will be posted once they have been finalized. Through this body of research, the network will produce internationally comparable results that will help generate insights into the interactions between technology adoption and work across various countries and industries.

Researchers leading MIT Global Research Network efforts:


  • Elisabeth Reynolds, Executive Director, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future; Executive Director, MIT Industrial Performance Center; Principal Research Scientist; Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
  • Tim Sturgeon, Senior Researcher, MIT Industrial Performance Center
  • Jason Jackson, Ford Career Development Assistant Professor in Political Economy and Urban Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning
  • Charles Fine, Chrysler Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management at the MITSloan School of Management


  • Alejandro G. Frank, Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS); Director of the Núcleo de Engenharia Organizacional (NEO), Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Renato da Fonseca, Gerente-executivo de Economia, Confederação Nacional da Indústria (CNI), Brasilia, Brazil


  • Renato Lima de Oliveira, Assistant Professor of Business and Society, Asia School of Business (ASB), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Zhai Gen Tan, Research Manager, Asia School of Business (ASB), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


  • İsmail Lazoğlu, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Manufacturing and Automation Research Center, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Metin Turkay, Professor of Industrial Engineering, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Barış Arıkan, Head of Ecosystem & Partnership Development, Turkish Employers; Association of Metal Industries (MESS), Istanbul, Turkey


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