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The MIT150 Symposia: call for proposals

The MIT150 Steering Committee invites proposals for consideration in its symposium series.
MIT will celebrate its 150th anniversary during the spring semester of 2011, and in addition to a variety of other programs that will celebrate the past and envision the future, the Institute will sponsor a series of five symposia.

The goal is to create a series that will explore issues and topics of interest to MIT’s community of scholars, students and staff and to communicate those issues to the world. This series will focus on how MIT as an institution fosters innovation, and together with an academic convocation to be convened by the president, forms the scholarly and intellectual centerpiece of the MIT150 program.

The ideal symposium keynotes will feature individuals with MIT ties who are leaders around the world. Symposia will look forward and back: they will reflect on historical accomplishments while helping to define the MIT of the 21st century.
The MIT150 Steering Committee is seeking proposals from the MIT community for these symposia. A subcommittee of faculty, senior administrative staff, alumni and students will select proposals for funding. This initial request is for two-page “pre-proposals,” from which a number will be selected and invited for longer proposals.
The committee offers the following examples for symposium topics, although it emphasizes these are to generate ideas more than specify proposals:
  • Organizing to solve global problems
  • MIT as an engine for the economy
  • Establishing new disciplines and fields
  • Great laboratories at MIT
  • Technology and the arts
  • MIT as an innovator in education
  • MIT and global partnerships
  • MIT and the future of exploration
Each symposium will last one to one and a half days, although the committee is open to other formats. Each symposium will contribute papers and transcripts into a collection of scholarly works, permanently recording the events in a combination of books and online materials.
Each proposal should identify as a leader at least one faculty member or senior administrative staff, include potential speakers from both within and outside of MIT, and represent more than a single department or center.
Strong proposals will identify matching funds and/or additional fundraising, highlight MIT’s intellectual focus and impact, engage a range of MIT stakeholders (alumni, faculty, staff, students), and gather participants from around the globe.
Dates and deadlines
Dec. 15, 2009: Pre-proposals due
Early January 2010: Pre-proposals selected for further development
Feb. 15, 2010: Complete proposals due
Pre-proposals should be directed to the attention of Professor David Mindell, chair of the MIT150 Steering Committee, and sent as a PDF to by Dec. 15, 2009. Questions? Please contact Ted Johnson, director of planning and operations for MIT150, at

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