Ethernet Inventor Metcalfe Is MIT’s New Innovation Fellow

Robert Metcalfe, the Ethernet inventor, venture capitalist, and innovation-focused professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is going back to his roots.

The founder of 3Com is spending the 2015-16 academic year as a visiting innovation fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the school he graduated from in 1969. In the position, most recently held by former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, Metcalfe will participate in various startup-related activities at MIT, from mentoring students to advising the school’s Lab for Innovation Science and Policy.

Metcalfe, who is based in Austin, will spend about one week a month working for the program in Boston. He will work with students in a program called Start6, a part of the school’s electrical engineering and computer science department, according to the MIT News office.

Metcalfe is known for far more than being an innovator and a corporate founder. Xconomy has long covered Metcalfe’s work, including the annual technology conference he co-founded, PopTech, his time investing in biofuels, his first experience with PowerPoint, and the time he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, among other accomplishments.

He also chatted with us in 2009, after 3Com was bought out by Hewlett-Packard for $2.7 billion. Metcalfe is an emeritus partner of Polaris Partners.

“Innovation drives the virtuous cycle of freedom and prosperity,” Metcalfe said in a prepared statement. “Startups out of research universities have proven to be among the most effective ways of innovating — startups built the Internet. It is exciting to have this opportunity to link the startup ecosystems of Austin and Boston.”

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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