MIT Innovation Blog

Student Group Collaboration Grant

  • MIT Innovation Initiative

The MIT Innovation Initiative Student Group Collaboration Grant encourages partnerships between innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) focused student groups. The seed grants support diverse groups who are working together on an event or project that will have impact on the I&E ecosystem here at MIT

Read about the 12 projects we awarded grants to (up to $1,000) and the myriad of ways student groups are collaborating across campus to bring unique opportunities to the MIT community.

Hacker House in collaboration with TechX

We are a group of students at MIT organizing a week-long hacker house in Boston over the 2019 January Independent Activities Period (dates: Jan. 27–Feb.3). We are hoping to bring ~20 hackers together to a shared house and support them in building anything they want — no strings attached. Our primary goal is to help young people build (and ship) cool things. All too often, students get bogged down by classes, internships, etc., and interesting side projects get placed on the back burner or sit half finished on GitHub. We want to provide an environment where there are no distractions, no commitments, and where the ultimate goal is shipping a polished product by the end of the week. We are looking for teams of undergrads from MIT.

The program we are running is a part of Hack Lodge, a growing community of builders, hackers, and founders from across the country. Our goal is to build an intimate and long-lasting community of top undergraduate engineers. This winter, there will be four different Hack Lodges (Boston, Bay Area, Pittsburgh, Seattle).

Astropreneurship and Space Industry Club (ASIC) in collaboration with Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)

Members of ASIC and SEDS are working together to design a new generation of space station. We are looking at this both as a real potential business project, but also as our entry in the SEDS Student Business Pitch competition in San Diego. We have decided to work together because of our different skill sets, business and engineering. The Sloan students are bringing business acumen to the table and helping determine what business opportunities exist for a commercial space station. This includes looking at commercial opportunities (i.e. tourism and in-space manufacturing) as well as governmental ones (from the U.S. and international players). At the same time, the engineering students are taking on the task of designing, from a feasible perspective, how to build a space station that spins. While much of this can be done using existing technology, there are some fascinating new questions that need to be answered (for example, how do load-bearing requirements play out in zero gravity?). Together, we are a team that not only works well together, but is fascinated by each other’s knowledge and skills. It has thus far been an incredible learning opportunity, with undergrads showing Sloan Fellows the basics of orbital mechanics, and MBAs helping Course 16 (aeronautics and astronautics) master’s students understand how designs will impact business potential.

MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team in collaboration with MIT FSAE Team 

The Solar Electric Vehicle Team is in the midst of designing a new car with plans of beginning manufacturing in May 2019. We came off of a very successful race this past summer (5th place out of 18 teams — the best our team has done in over a decade!) and are using this momentum to propel ourselves into an incredible yet intense design-build cycle for our next car. We plan to race again in the 2020 American Solar Challenge with goals of performing better and placing higher than we did in 2018. With these goals comes the overarching plan to build a more robust and efficient car. In the March/April timeframe, we will be making many very large purchases (fiberglass molds, solar array and encapsulation, composite lay-up materials, mechanical components, electrical components and batteries, stock, etc.) Any support received will ensure that our team stays alive as we chase our most exciting goals and conquer our biggest challenges. This team is much more than a car-building-group to its members. We are a close-knit family with a shared passion – we want to build an incredible, solar-powered vehicle.

In terms of collaboration, we work with FSAE as we are both aiming for similar goals, yet are different enough that we have very diverse strong-suits and knowledge bases. When we need to know more about something they are very good at (welding, tube bending, airfoils, etc) we meet with them. Similarly, when they need our help in areas that we are experts in, such as composites or battery technology, we are happy to help out. We also work in the same space, so it is helpful for us to collaborate when we manufacture so we can share skills and improve the knowledge on both teams. To discuss entrepreneurship, several companies have stemmed out of our team. We work on a technology that pushes the bounds of innovation and that our members are incredibly passionate about. This combination of exciting technology and deep passion has led to several SEVT alums starting solar car/technology companies and will continue to contribute to this trend in the future.

Rocket Team in collaboration with  MIT FSAE, Solar Electric Vehicle Team (SEVT)

Rocket Team’s first goal is to educate new members and prepare them for real-world engineering. Each year, we build more advanced rockets, exploring new design challenges as a team. Now, our goal is to build a rocket to go to space in 2020. This project is very exciting for the team, and this year we’ve had much higher new member retention than in the past. Collaboration with fellow student groups, MIT FSAE and SEVT, has allowed us to see how similar technical groups organize their teams for greater success. This year, our leadership has made a lot of changes to our structure because of this collaboration, and even early in the year we are seeing more effectiveness and passion from our members. We also plan to do more events with the other Edgerton teams to continue to learn about what they are doing and help each other solve organizational and management challenges that affect all of our teams.

2019 MIT Tech Conference in collaboration with MIT Sloan Tech Club, VCPE Club, MIT Sloan Product Management Club, Sloan Coder’s Club

In keeping with MIT’s recent profile as the “future factory” on 60 Minutes, the goal of the 2019 MIT Tech Conference is to provide a veritable glimpse into the future by drawing together some of the brightest minds transforming our world for the better. This includes attracting top founders, VCs, scientists, authors, athletes, and people of all backgrounds to share their stories. Proposed topics include augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, space travel and more. This will also be a rare opportunity to learn about some of the most innovative technologies being developed on MIT’s campus. For example, with the Technology of the Future Showcase, we hope to feature innovators from across MIT’s Media Lab and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), among others. In the spirit of “One MIT,” we are merging with the Venture and Innovation Conference and partnering with the Coder’s Club and PM Club to run a full-scale hackathon leading up to the event. We hope this will be a remarkable experience that enriches the learning process for all students and brings together the entire class to achieve something greater than any one of us could have imagined.

ETA @ MIT in collaboration with MBA, eMBA, Sloan Fellows, mFin, undergrads, PhDs, supply chain masters

The MIT Entrepreneurship through Acquisition summit is a great opportunity for all entrepreneurs throughout campus to come together to learn and connect on how students can acquire and run a company as CEO in the next two years. This one-day summit will take place on March 9, 2019 at the MIT Media Lab and will feature a hands-on learning approach that allows for the practical application of needed skills to develop stronger competency that allows for someone to take the leap as an entrepreneur to acquire a company. Last year we brought together students from MBA, eMBA, Sloan Fellows, mFin, undergrads, PhDs, and supply chain masters. The ability to attract and provide a hub for all these different programs at MIT is of critical importance. Our planning committee already features individuals from most programs and we seek to recruit others to have full representation on both the planning and attendance level.

Fintech Club in collaboration with Blockchain Club, Digital Currency Initiative, undergrad, PhDs, mFins, EMBAs, Sloan Fellows

We will collaborate with the Design Club on a hackathon. We will also collaborate with the Blockchain Club for the business plan competition. We are looking to bring together people from different academic and professional backgrounds to identify problems and work on solutions from various aspects: technology, finance and business.

MIT Biotech Group (MBG) in collaboration with Biology Graduate Student Council (BGSC)

MBG and BGSC has collaborated on the last four career networking nights. These events are organized with the aim of fostering connections between the MIT community and professionals. We keep the ratio roughly 2:1 so the MIT community actually gets to be involved in deep conversations. Each of these career nights have different career track themes, and this year we are organizing one that is focused towards entrepreneurship and innovation. The two groups came together because we had  similar ideas of increasing access to professionals and boosting networking opportunities.

MIT Sloan Retail & Consumer Goods Conference in collaboration with MIT Sloan Consumer Club, SWIM, Sustainability Initiative, MIT Sloan Product Management Club, Sloan Management Consulting Club

We are organizing the second MIT Sloan Retail and Consumer Goods Conference. Last year’s inaugural conference attracted over 250 attendees and we are planning to extend that number to over 300. The conference will allow students to meet other students who are interested in the same sector and network with high-level company representatives in a casual setting. This year’s theme is “Winning the Customer War.” This alludes to a lot of innovative companies and startups that win over millennials with new and innovative offers. In addition to speaker panels, there will be an expo where startups showcase their offers. The conference holds benefits for many groups and thus we are working together with several clubs at MIT, including the Consumer Club, Consulting Club and SWIM.

MIT Ventureships Club in collaboration with Entrepreneurship & Innovation (E&I) Club

MIT Ventureships Club matches students with MIT-affiliated startups for semester-long projects. Our Midterm Check-In Event will be co-hosted with the E&I Club in mid-to-late November so that participating students and startups can talk about the projects that they have been working on. Sloan students in the E&I Club will be able to hear more about Ventureships and future opportunities so that they can apply when a new cycle starts next semester. This will be the beginning of a stronger partnership between the two clubs as both focus on the mission of helping students engage more with MIT’s startup community.

Net Impact Club in collaboration with Entrepreneurship & Innovation Club, Food & Agriculture Club, Retail Club, Impact Investing Club, MIT Sustainability Initiative, Design Club

A conference to cast light on entrepreneurial ventures that bring high-quality, sustainable consumer goods to the market by leveraging technologies. It aims at providing networking opportunities to students and inspiring some to create sustainable ventures. The one-day event will be held in spring 2019 with a panel gathering sustainable startups and corporations with interesting sustainability initiatives in the morning and a workshop/hackathon in the afternoon where a few partner companies would submit challenges for students to solve.

The conference will explore how companies manage to build disruptive products and powerful brands; and how they address the challenges of the CPG industry. Potential themes include:

  • Design: Placing sustainability at the center of product design (i.e. considering production, use, disposal)
  • Data: Leveraging data to inform consumer and trigger consumption changes
  • Branding: Building recognizable brands in the CPG space and/or transiting from premium products to mainstream
  • Market: Competing with incumbent behemoths and getting traction (legal battles on terms such as “meat” or “milk” for plant-based products, partnership or acquisition, etc…)
  • Funding/financials: Securing fundings for sustainability startups and achieving profitability.

StartLabs in collaboration with MIT Bitcoin Club

A gala for those interested in business and in cryptocurrency. The intersection of these two worlds is a big topic right now and we think that molding the communities on our campus could lead to some great developments. Those interested in crypto and how it relates to the startup world, those with a strong background in blockchain and intrigued by startup culture, and individuals with the interest to learn more about both, will be in attendance. We will have speakers from crypto finance companies, ICO development firms, and general enthusiasts to educate the guests. We seek to enrich the MIT and local community by hosting this opportunity to learn and mix with future leaders in the world of cryptocurrency.