2021 — A year in review

SRI 2021 Year in review

Celebrating 75 years of innovation

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this was a year that demonstrated dramatic examples of scientific breakthroughs ranging from the rapid creation, verification and dissemination of mRNA vaccines to advances in microrobotics and commercialized spaceflight. Throughout the past year, SRI has continued to focus on its core mission of making the world safer, healthier and more productive. We completed research on the effects of COVID-19 on sleep and mental health, deployed the Mixed-Salt-Process (MSP) for carbon capture which will be critical for 2050 net-zero emissions targets, and completed research that will help to bridge the gap for low-income early education and post-secondary learners.

In December 2021, SRI welcomed a new CEODavid Parekh, Ph.D. Dr. Parekh has more than 30 years of experience leading research for industrial and academic research organizations. We are excited by his vision for the future at SRI International.

This past year, we looked back on SRI’s 75 years of innovations and the innovators that made them possible. We continued Dish TV, our video interview series with SRI Innovators. We launched our SRI tech explained video series, where we took a look at how our latest technology works and we got animated with our SRI About Us video series.

We look forward to continuing our legacy of making the world safer, healthier and more productive in 2022!

Making the world healthier

SRI Biosciences was awarded a $14.7 million contract sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) through the Medical, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Consortium (MCDC) to advance their in-development naloxone product to commercialize and license the new formulation as a countermeasure for individuals who have received toxic doses of ultra-high potency synthetic opioids.

SRI Biosciences also entered into a research collaboration with Sanofi. SRI’s SynFini™ platform, a novel AI-driven drug discovery platform, enables the faster synthesis of drugs, shortening discovery timelines from years to months or less. The collaboration will discover and develop lead candidates in multiple high-profile drug-discovery programs at Sanofi.

SRI Biosciences continued to study the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on sleep and mental health. Researchers recently published a study in the peer-reviewed journal, Psychological Medicine, stating that the risk of depression symptoms tripled among emerging adults. Read more on the study in this article from Forbes.

Making the world safer

SRI entered into a global exclusive licensing agreement with Baker Hughes to use SRI’s innovative Mixed-Salt Process (MSP) for CO2 capture. The advancement of carbon capture technology solutions is widely considered critical to delivering the CO2 emissions reductions needed to meet global 2050 climate and net-zero emissions targets.

In the world of cybersecurity, SRI continues to be a thought leader in the field and a leader in research on cyberattacks on power grids, communication systems and supply chains to defend against blackouts.

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DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, awarded an $11.5 million contract to develop a new hardware accelerator chip to support fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). The resulting hardware and supporting software solution could enable practical FHE, which has broad commercial implications, such as accelerating the computations required to process large volumes of sensitive data for machine learning and to train artificial intelligence and enhance security for data hosted in untrusted cloud computing platforms.

Making the world more productive

Black woman reading with Black child

SRI Education and the Education Development Center (EDC) released research demonstrating the educational impact that MOLLY OF DENALI, an award-winning animated series, produced by GBH Boston, has on children from low-income households. Two separate rigorous studies found that children from low-income households who were given MOLLY OF DENALI videos, digital games and activities were better able to solve problems using informational text. Comprehending informational text paves the way for future learning, particularly in social studies and the sciences and success in life.

Read more here.

Additionally, SRI Education worked to address inequities at the post-secondary level. SRI and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University’s Teachers College (CCRC) partnered with Achieving the Dream to conduct research on how educational technology and instructional strategies can bolster students’ skills for managing their learning. The research program investigates how instructors can make optimal use of features often already built into online learning technologies to support student skill development, with a focus on online foundational STEM courses.

Read the full press release here.

A successful year for SRI Ventures spin-outs

SRI Ventures continues to support our exciting spinouts as they grow within their respective industries. Here are a few highlights from the year.

LeoLabs raised $65M in their Series B funding to expand their radar sites and monitoring capabilities.

Latent AI raised $19M in their Series A funding to expand its zero-latency software that can compress AI models by ten times without a noticeable change in accuracy.

OTO was acquired by Unity. The AI-based audio chat analysis platform will be used to combat toxic online gaming environments.

Spin-out Kasisto was recognized as a top intelligent digital assistant, partnering with Nedbank and Glia to power their digital customer service platforms. They were also recognized by Wired in a piece on the importance of gender neutrality in digital assistants. Kasisto’s KAI was specifically designed to be genderless.

Vitrina AI announced their AI-powered SaaS platform to track film and television production, distribution deals and map the worldwide video entertainment supply chain.


Wingsure unveiled its AI-driven mobile insurance app for underserved farmers and communities. The platform will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to submit and process insurance claims. Wingsure’s application is leveraging SRI’s computer vision and augmented reality technologies to rapidly process insurance claims, confirm crop damage, and identify the validity of insurance claims.

In speech recognition, Gridspace is collaborating with Google Cloud.

Nuance Communications is now a part of Microsoft Intelligent Cloud segment.

NSIC: Nomura-SRI Innovation Center

Operations for the Nomura-SRI Innovation Center (NSIC) began earlier this year and in October, NSIC hosted the grand opening and kickoff of the center, with representatives from charter member companies joining both in person and virtually. The center’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of Silicon Valley’s disruptive technology-innovation processes into corporate Japan.

By connecting Japanese member corporations with U.S.-based R&D labs, university research, incubators and startups, NSIC will encourage innovation through a range of business practices that it will then synthesize and deliver through workshops, guest lectures and bespoke content.

Learn more about NSIC on sri.com.

SRI managed QED-C sets path for the quantum industry


The Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) continues to expand its reach and influence on the quantum community. They released an assessment based on a survey of U.S. quantum businesses that outlined the diversity of jobs in the quantum industry requiring various skills & education levels and provided guidance to grow a quantum-ready workforce. They introduced a novel approach to measuring the performance of quantum computers and a publicly available open-source suite of application-oriented performance benchmark programs for quantum computing.

QED-C also launched a publicly available Quantum Marketplace that highlights providers of quantum technology and services and connects them with customers and partners. The Marketplace aims to help those with quantum-related technology needs to find suppliers, customers and partners. The monthly Quantum Marketplace webinars focus on companies in a particular area relevant to the commercialization of quantum technology.

Stay in the know: The Dish blog, newsletter and Dish TV interview series

The Dish blog takes a closer look at SRI’s projects and innovations through the 75 Years of Innovation series, which focuses on our rich history of groundbreaking innovations; the Featured Innovators series, where we spotlight the colleagues behind these innovations; and blogs around our areas of expertiseSRI Ventures spin-outs and more.

The SRI newsletter continued this year and features a monthly update on SRI’s latest activities.

Click here to subscribe.

Season 2 of Dish TV, our video interview series, brought viewers into the world of our innovations, offering a look into the science behind the tech.

We launched a new video series, SRI Tech Explained, which walks viewers through how our technology works to make the world safer, healthier and more productive.

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