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Letter regarding The Engine Working Groups preliminary report

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The following email was sent today to the MIT community by Provost Martin A. Schmidt.

To members of the MIT community:

In December 2016, I charged The Engine Working Groups to guide the development of Institute policies and procedures for engaging with The Engine. The Engine, a new external innovation accelerator, was launched by MIT to help start-ups pursuing capital- and time-intensive technologies access patient capital, workspaces, equipment, and services needed to bring solutions from inception to the marketplace. Sixty-two members of the MIT community, including faculty, students, postdocs, and staff, participated in this effort. 

Professor Anantha P. Chandrakasan has led The Engine Working Groups effort and also heads The Engine Advisory Committee, which includes the Working Groups chairs, Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo, Executive Director of the Industrial Performance Center Elisabeth Reynolds, and Senior Director for Institute Affairs Glen Comiso.

I now write to share the preliminary report of the Working Groups and to seek your input. Please submit any comments, questions, and suggestions to A final report will be released in early fall.

The Working Groups focused on five areas of MIT engagement with The Engine:

  • New Models for Technology Licensing — Chair: Professor Timothy Swager
  • Facilities Access — Chair: Professor Martin Culpepper
  • Conflict of Interest — Chair: Professor Klavs Jensen
  • Visas for MIT Entrepreneurs — Chair: Professor Dick Yue
  • MIT’s Innovation Ecosystem — Co-Chairs: Professors Fiona Murray and Vladimir Bulović

This preliminary report is the product of six months of campus-wide engagement, discussions, research, and analysis by the Working Groups. The Advisory Committee submitted the preliminary report to me, Vice President for Research Maria Zuber, and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz. 

The next step is to collect comments from the community and, after reviewing and incorporating this input, to deliver a final report in early fall and finalize an implementation plan. Finally, while the focus of this report is MIT’s engagement with The Engine, many of the recommendations will enhance overall innovation at the Institute.

I am grateful to Professor Chandrakasan, the chairs of the Working Groups, the Advisory Committee, and the Working Group members for their expertise, time, and service. I am eager to see how these ideas will allow MIT, along with entities such as The Engine, to help young companies develop innovations that positively transform society and help create a better world.

Martin A. Schmidt

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