Brainpower Triangle - Cambridge, MA

Brainpower Triangle - Cambridge, MA The name Brainpower Triangle is used to describe the area delimited by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Tufts University. The area forms a geographical triangle, and hence the name of this research, business, and technology hub. The nearest cities are Cambridge and Somerville, both in the state of Massachusetts.

A Look at the History of the Brainpower Triangle

The area known as the Brainpower Triangle began to emerge as a leading center for entrepreneurship and innovation towards the middle of the 1980s. During that decade, the US economy boomed and economic indexes reached unprecendented levels, mainly thanks to the extensive development of industries like information technology, finance, and bio-tech. Since their inauguration, educational institutions like Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been known for their strong research and scientific focus, but it was during the 1980s that their involvement and impact on the local and national economy grew significantly.

Some important advances in computing technology took place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during that decade. These include the development of complex computing languages, robotics, digital circuit design, artificial intelligence, cybernetics, cryptography, and automated learning. Harvard University, also located in Cambridge, is another world-class center of educational excellence. The University has some of the world's best-rated research institutes, such as the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the Wyss Institute. Tufts University, based in Somerville, is one of the top-15 research universities in North America.

However, the development of the Brainpower Triangle was not exclusively linked to fields like computing or electronics. Researchers working at the three institutions involved were also responsible for important discoveries in physics, genetics, molecular biology, medicine, and economics. In fact, many of the discoveries and inventions made by students and staff at these institutions have turned into successful multi-million dollar ventures.

The presence of these leading institutions in the area and the fact that they produced a high number of outstanding graduates attracted many high-level businesses to the area. The local universities promote and encourage entrepreneurship and support new business ventures through programs like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Competition, the Harvard Entrepreneurship Club, the Harvard Annual Business Plan Contest, Tufts University Entrepreneurship Program, and the Harvard Entrepreneurial Learning Program.

Companies Based at the Brainpower Triangle

In addition to the three educational institutions that were responsible for the emergence of the Brainpower Triangle, some of the largest and most important companies based in the area include:

  • Polaroid
  • Novartis
  • AstraZeneca
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • ITA Software
  • IBM
  • Google
  • Microsoft Research
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Biogen
  • Pfizer
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Genzyme
  • Genentec
  • Cisco
  • Merck & Co.
  • Amgen

Facts and Figures about the Brainpower Triangle

The Brainpower Triangle is known for having a local workforce that is highly skilled and qualified. This has attracted large amounts of investment, both from public and from private institutions. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology alone receives more than $85 million per year in funding, and $75 million of those come from the federal government.

The hundreds of inventions and patents developed at the Brainpower Triangle bring in revenues that exceed the $200 million mark. The average annual expenditure of all the local institutions based in this area amounts to $1.5 billion. An additional $1.3 billion is spent every year on goods and services.

It is estimated that more than 5,000 businesses have been launched by Brainpower Triangle graduates. Nowadays, these employ more than 1 million people, and have a combined revenue of more than $116 million. The largest employers in the area are Harvard University, with more than 10,000 employees, and the MIT, with almost 8,000 staff.

Travel and Transportation Information

The nearest international airport is Logan, which is located in Boston. The airport is only a 20-minute drive away from Cambridge and 30 minutes away from Somerville. Direct buses link the airport with Cambridge city center. Amtrak has regular train services between Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, including numerous commuter trains that operate at peak hours.

For further information, visitors can contact the local tourist authority on

Business information can be obtained at and

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