Edward Roberts


Edward Roberts


Edward Roberts is the David Sarnoff Professor of Management of Technology, and the founder, chair, and faculty director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, now renamed as the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is an expert in advanced technology management and entrepreneurship, a serial high-tech entrepreneur, and a leading angel investor.

Roberts has literally written the book on high-tech business creation and growth. His Entrepreneurs in High-Technology: Lessons from MIT and Beyond (Oxford University Press,1991) was the first research-based book on hi-tech entrepreneurship, and won the Association of American Publishers Award for Outstanding Book in Business and Management. He has authored over 160 articles and 12 books, the most recent being Celebrating Entrepreneurship: A Half-Century of MIT's Growth and Impact (MIT Sloan, 2018). His major 2009 report (updated in 2011), Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT, documents the history of entrepreneurship at MIT and demonstrates the enormous economic impact generated by companies founded by MIT alumni. That study was wholly redone in 2014 with his colleague Professor Fiona Murray and published in 2015 as Entrepreneurship and Innovation at MIT: Continuing Global Growth and Impact.

His own entrepreneurship is as prolific in academia as in industry. Under the direction of Professor Jay Forrester, Roberts was a founding member of the MIT System Dynamics Group in 1958. In 1990 he founded the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, which he has since chaired. He was a founder of MIT Sloan’s Management of Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group, which he chaired for more than 30 years. During the 1970s, Roberts cofounded multiple MIT programs in health care delivery, including an interdisciplinary PhD program in Health Policy and Management. During that time he co-directed MIT’s extensive collaboration in management and organizational development with the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 1980 Roberts cofounded and chaired for nearly 20 years, the mid-career MIT Management of Technology (MOT) Program, MIT’s first advanced degree program offered by two Schools. Most recently, in 2006 he co-created and still chairs the MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship & Innovation MBA Track.

During the past 55 years, Roberts has become internationally known for his research, teaching, and active involvement in many aspects of technology management, including technology strategy, corporate venturing, product innovation management, and technology-based entrepreneurship. He served as codirector of the MIT International Center for Research on the Management of Technology.

When not occupied with his MIT responsibilities, Roberts is actively involved as a cofounder, board member, and angel investor in many high-tech startups. He was the CEO and cofounder of Pugh-Roberts Associates, Inc. (1963), an international management consulting firm specializing in system dynamics, strategic planning, and technology management, sold in 1990 to PA Consulting Group. He is a cofounder and director of Medical Information Technology, Inc. (Meditech)—a leading producer of healthcare information systems which he cofounded in 1969. He is also a cofounder and was a director for twenty years of  Sohu.com, Inc. (1996), a leading Chinese Internet firm that was among the earliest in China. In addition, he cofounded and served for 18 years as a general partner of the Zero Stage Capital and First Stage Capital Equity Funds, a group of venture capital funds investing in early-stage technology-based firms. Later Roberts became a cofounding (and then the longest serving) member of CommonAngels, Inc., the largest angel group in Greater Boston.

Over many years Roberts has been a director and cofounder of numerous emerging technology companies, including Advanced Magnetics (now AMAG Pharmaceuticals), Interactive SuperComputing (sold to Microsoft), InTouch Systems (sold to Comverse Technologies), Inverness Medical Technologies (now part of Johnson & Johnson), Pegasystems, and Tyco Laboratories (now Tyco International). Roberts’s current board memberships include Meditech and PR Restaurants, and the North Country Chamber Players.

Roberts also served on advisory boards for many companies and government agencies, including the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (1967-1970) and the U.S. Department of Commerce Technical Advisory Board (1967-1972), as well as task forces of the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the National Research Council, and the White House. He has been involved for many years in efforts to stimulate the high-tech entrepreneurship of Israel.

Roberts holds four degrees from MIT: an SB and SM in electrical engineering, an SM in management, and a PhD in economics.

Working Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/c


Ed Roberts recognized by the International Association of Management of Technology

Ed Roberts has been selected for the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Promoting Entrepreneurship

Ed Roberts is the fourth recipient of the annual Adolf F. Monosson Prize for Entrepreneurship Mentoring



Roberts, Edward B. In Innovating: A Doer's Manifesto for Starting from a Hunch, Prototyping Problems, Scaling Up, and Learning to Be Productively Wrong, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016.

"Session Introduction: The Jewish Entrepreneurs Video Album."

Roberts, Edward B. Hillel International, September 2016.

"​Understanding Entrepreneurial Process and Performance: A Cross-National Comparison of Alumni Entrepreneurship between MIT and Tsinghua University."

Eesley, C., Delin Yang, Edward B. Roberts, and Tan Li. Asian Journal for Innovation and Policy Vol. 5, No. 2 (2016): 147-185.

​Entrepreneurship and Innovation at MIT: Continuing Global Growth and Impact.

Roberts, Edward B., Fiona Murray, and J. Daniel Kim. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015.

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