A year after Uber hired away researchers, CMU robotics center rebounds

Andrew Moore, dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, is tired of people looking at him like he’s had a loss in the family. It’s been around a year since Uber Technologies Inc. hired away 40 researchers at the school’s National Robotics Engineering Center, characterized by news reports as a “poaching” that left the center “decimated,” “gutted” and “in a crisis.” But now that the research center is set to begin work on four major federal research contracts worth $11 million announced today, Mr. Moore wants to move beyond what happened last spring and clarify that the center is doing just fine. In an interview this morning, he explained that the school views Uber’s taking of a third of the center’s staff — including the center’s director — as a reality in academic research. “This kind of thing happens to us a few times a year,” Mr. Moore said. “We’re focused on ‘what’s next?’”