MIT has announced the creation of a makerspace that will facilitate connections between the MIT campus and the global community and meet the increasing demand for hands-on learning opportunities at the Institute. Made possible with support from the Victor and William Fung Foundation, the new space will provide MIT students with the facilities and tools they need to explore, design, and build technologies and innovations that have the potential for international impact.
Although MIT has more than 120,000 square feet of makerspaces on campus, many of these innovation and entrepreneurship facilities are heavily oversubscribed. The new makerspace, which will be housed in a location to be determined, will serve to vastly increase MIT students’ access to the resources they require to iterate and drive ideas toward realization and adoption by the marketplace. It will also provide maker training to students and enhance the ability of departments to deliver project-based and capstone classes in prototyping and manufacturing.
The makerspace will also connect the Institute's innovation ecosystem to the world, serving as the physical location for the MIT community to collaborate physically or virtually — through advanced telecommunication technology — with the recently launched Innovation Node in Hong Kong.
“More than ever before, innovation will define tomorrow’s business world,” said Victor K. Fung ’66 at a signing ceremony on campus to celebrate the new makerspace initiative. “Supporting the construction of makerspaces at MIT will contribute to pushing the frontier of innovation by more rapidly moving ideas from laboratory to market. We look forward to bringing to life innovative services and products as a result of enhanced collaboration between MIT’s makerspaces in the U.S. and Hong Kong.”
“As an innovator and entrepreneur, Victor Fung is a visionary, and he understands firsthand how bold ideas become breakthrough innovations. This new makerspace will inspire a new generation of MIT makers, inventors, and entrepreneurs by giving them the local resources and global connections to explore new concepts and technologies, and learn to deliver market-ready ideas,” said L. Rafael Reif, president of MIT. “In and beyond Hong Kong, Victor has been a tremendous advocate for MIT, and we couldn't ask for a better partner as we build the innovation ecosystem surrounding MIT’s campus and connect it to innovation around the world. I am deeply grateful to Victor for his leadership and his commitment to MIT, and to Victor and his brother William for their extraordinary support.”
“This facility will add an exciting new dimension to MIT’s makerspace universe,” said Provost Martin A. Schmidt SM ’83, PhD ’88, who in 2015 initiated Project Manus, MIT’s effort to upgrade maker spaces and foster maker communities on campus. “It will cultivate our students’ deep passion for learning, inventing, tinkering, and creating while providing them with new avenues through which to share their potentially game-changing prototypes and visionary projects with the world.”
Victor Fung is one of Hong Kong’s most prominent business and civic leaders. He is chairman of the Fung Group, a Hong Kong-based, privately held consumer goods and retail conglomerate cofounded by his grandfather in 1906. He serves on the boards of several corporations in Asia and is currently chairman of the Asia Advisory Board of Prudential Financial.
With his brother William, he founded the Victor and William Fung Foundation in 2006 to commemorate the centenary of the Fung Group. The foundation promotes leadership development, principally through scholarship programs and thought leadership, and it recently renewed its funding to support global education opportunities for MIT undergraduates. Fung has also given generously to the MIT Sloan School of Management. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from MIT and a PhD in business economics from Harvard University. He taught at Harvard Business School before returning to the family business in Hong Kong in 1976. Fung was chairman of the Council of the University of Hong Kong from 2001 to 2009 and recently supported the establishment of the Asia Global Institute, a multidisciplinary think tank of the university that generates and disseminates research and analysis on global issues from Asian perspectives.
Fung has been a champion of the MIT alumni community in Hong Kong since the 1970s, representing MIT to the Hong Kong government and other organizations, and guiding MIT’s presence in the region.