Mustangs and Minds Converge

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Fact: Northeastern has a tradition of innovative responsiveness toward industry.


1903. Henry Ford incorporates as the Ford Motor Company. His assembly line technique and philosophy of durability paired with affordability revolutionizes the world.

1903. Northeastern opens the doors of its Automobile School, a program geared toward “owners, chauffeurs, machinists, and mechanics.”

1909. Ford produces 10,666 Model Ts. An astronomical number given that there were only 300 cars in the United States in 1895.  

1909. Northeastern unveils the cooperative program that evolves into a world-leading, high-octane educational engine.   

This legacy of outward looking, industry focus is charging forward to this day.


Convergence between industry and Northeastern remains a piston igniting solution-oriented innovation at NU.

This commitment to engagement was evidenced last month when a pace-setting collaboration with General Electric was announced. Prompted by a federal initiative aiming to address the paucity of skilled manufacturing professionals in the US, Northeastern and GE will be rolling out an accelerated Bach­elor of Sci­ence in Advanced Man­u­fac­turing.

The pending deficit was brought to light by a report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute that predicts a demand for 3.5 million manufacturing professionals over the next ten years.

Fantastic news.

Now, the bad news.

The projected number of qualified individuals at that time: 1.5 million. Thus, in a decade, there will be a 2 million person canyon that must be bridged.

2 million short. That nearly equals the number of Ford’s total car sales in the US for 2015!  

For a solution-oriented university like Northeastern, this is a call to action.

The curriculum of the new degree program is a finely engineered hybrid of theory and practice. Northeastern faculty will teach while GE members test.

A porous boundary between academia and industry for the purpose of overcoming critical social needs.


Embodying the ethos of Northeastern’s outward facing approach, the CRI has opened a dialogue with industry speedsters IBM and Verizon. Members from all sides are charting courses that will draw from Northeastern’s vast reserves of inquisitiveness in order to fuel IBM Watson’s cognitive computing horsepower and Verizon’s smart sensor network.

Finding ways to utilize Watson for campus safety and awakening the Internet of Things within stadiums. Revving up the day-to-day.

The CRI diligently generates points of convergence with a host of industry representatives: looking under the hood to identify sputters, malfunctions, hiccups, misfires … then, with the assistance of Northeastern’s ace mechanics, tuning them for maximal performance.

Discovering needs, generating solutions — that’s the Northeastern way.


Bringing known needs to the CRI shop is also welcomed.

The CRI is ready to create captivating challenges and cooperatively brainstorm new modes of delivering solutions.

Engage Northeastern engineering labs to redesign an underperforming part. Tap into computer science genius and knock out that pesky bug, lockbox that crucial information. Go nano and develop otherworldly materials: lighter, stronger, faster. Dynamic. Durable.

Contact the CRI for supercharged convergence.

Then, buckle up.


To learn more about Northeastern’s partnership with GE, read Northeastern to partner with GE in new federal education innovation program.”





Written by Brice Tennant.

Feature image – Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University.

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