Apply for the Engine Ad Hoc Working Groups by Nov. 28

November 22, 2016

MIT will be forming four ad hoc working groups related to MIT’s recent launch of The Engine, as streamlining MIT policies and procedures in these areas will be critical to The Engine’s success.

Access to MIT equipment and facilities:
Building on the MIT Mobius platform, we are launching the Engine Room to enable the Institute and the surrounding regional entities to make space, equipment and specialized expertise available to local entrepreneurs, with the goal of drastically improving access for early-stage endeavors. The Engine will work with partners/hosts to establish terms of access as opposed to each startup needing to negotiate individual terms. The Facilities Access Working Group will work through issues surrounding access to specialized equipment and services at MIT. These may include establishing a system to certify that startup personnel have the qualifications and training needed to use requested equipment; determining how startup use of equipment is prioritized among internal MIT needs; reviewing fee structures for outside usage in comparison to internal users; and considering questions surrounding intellectual property. This may also include evaluation of opportunities to create an open access consortium, similar to the one created at Western University, for participating universities.

Streamlining technology licensing:
The Technology Licensing Working Group will propose opportunities for MIT to facilitate the appropriate level of licensing and alternative options at targeted times in the development cycle, with the goal of expediting approvals and minimizing patent costs. The group will also evaluate opportunities for new models for research contracts that would facilitate work with MIT startups.

Conflict of interest:
MIT policies and procedures are designed to mitigate real or perceived conflicts of interest (COI) and ensure that activities do not conflict with obligations to MIT. A conflict of interest can be any situation in which financial or other personal considerations have the potential to compromise professional judgment and objectivity. The Conflict of Interest Working Group will discuss the potential conflicts of interest that might arise for MIT’s faculty, students and staff participating in the launch of startups through The Engine, or in advisory committees or faculty review panels involved in this effort, and recommend ways to mitigate these conflicts.

This working group will develop recommendations managing conflicts of interest when participants are faculty or students at MIT who are also working on a startup that is participating in The Engine.

Enabling visas for MIT entrepreneurs:
The Working Group on Visas for Entrepreneurs will examine opportunities to facilitate timely visas to allow international students and researchers to remain in the United States to pursue entrepreneurial activities after the completion of graduate study and / or postdoctoral work at MIT. The initial effort will be focused on facilitating opportunities for those accepted into The Engine program.

These working groups will convene in early December and complete their work by early March. We have one graduate student opening on each of the committees. If you’re interested in representing graduate students in any of these working groups, please submit your CV and a brief statement of purpose that includes your order of preference for serving on the four committees to GSC Vice President Angie Crews ( by Monday, November 28th.

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