Description Of Working Groups
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 standard terms of access—as opposed to each startup needing to negotiate individual terms. The Facilities Access Working Group is addressing 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 those for 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.
The Technology Licensing Working Group is proposing 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.
MIT policies and procedures are designed to mitigate real or perceived conflicts of interest 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 is discussing 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.
The Working Group on Visas for Entrepreneurs is examining 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.
The Working Group on MIT’s Innovation Ecosystem is focusing on preparing our diverse community of MIT students and postdoctoral researchers to participate in The Engine and other accelerators. This will be a way to coordinate many existing programs, identify new opportunities, and ensure an inclusive approach to innovation and entrepreneurship.