Tsai Center For Law, Science and Innovation Gift Amplifies Law Research and Innovation


Additional $2 million dollar gift expands endowment and current operational funding


DALLAS (SMU) – A recent $2 million gift expands the profile of SMU’s Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation as a leading academic platform for multidisciplinary research and scholarly debate surrounding new technologies.

Located within SMU Dedman School of Law, the academic center brings together experts from the legal, scientific and business communities to explore the complex challenges presented by the evolving innovation ecosystem. Such topics as artificial intelligence, digital currency, intellectual property and data privacy have been explored through faculty research, educational programming and student engagement opportunities since the Tsai Center was launched in 2015.

“The Tsai Center has already sparked significant faculty scholarship on legal issues linked to emerging technologies,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This additional support allows the center to strengthen collaborations across disciplines that result in these forces coming together in remarkable ways, facilitating deep study of important matters within the ever-changing legal, innovation and discovery landscapes. This work further strengthens our reputation for addressing legal issues in technology development.”

The new gift was made by the same anonymous Dedman Law alumnus who generously provided the $3.125 million gift to establish the center. It will be split between endowment and current operational funding, and provides additional resources for research grants, programs and curricula.

Current research projects supported by the Tsai Center include studies of fingerprint technology and tax implications of artificial intelligence, as well as a digital tool for keeping track of litigation involving government watch lists. The center’s Leadership Lecture series recently welcomed Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and Andrei Iancu, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Tsai Center’s interdisciplinary programs include its Innovation Lecture series that partnered with SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering in 2018 to feature John Carmack, a trailblazing software developer. Another collaboration with SMU’s Cox School of Business produced a standing-room-only event where business and legal experts discussed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Tsai Center also has funded new courses, including one in which law students create web-based legal apps for Texas legal-aid organizations.

This new gift gives SMU added resources to raise its profile as a leader in innovation and the law.