This article was featured in the May 2021 MIT VMS Quarterly Newsletter.
Although VMS is currently operating virtually, earlier this year we officially moved from our offices in W31 into the new MIT InnovationHQ (iHQ) in Building E38 located in Kendall Square. We’re excited to be co-located with other I&E (Innovation and Entrepreneurship) programs and look forward to having you visit us in our new space as soon as it’s safe to do so.
The creation of the iHQ came in response to a recommendation in 2012 from a faculty committee led by then Mechanical Engineering Professor Mary Boyce, now Dean of Engineering at Columbia University. Innovation programs were scattered across the MIT campus. The co-location of these programs is intended to help members of the MIT community navigate across these offerings, and also to promote resource sharing and serendipitous interactions across programs while creating economies of scale.
This decision draws on extensive precedent at MIT, going back to the original Main Group complex designed by William Bosworth. Buildings for different disciplines were physically connected to promote similar interactions. Other examples include the Rad Lab in World War II, and more recently the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. It echoes the work done by the late Sloan School Professor Tom Allen, whose “Allen curve” traced how communication among engineers increased as proximity increased.
The building is steps away from the Kendall Square T-stop. The first two floors will contain a vibrant welcome center and the MIT Admissions Office. This will give prospective students and visitors who are interested in innovation at MIT a firsthand look at our many I&E resources.
The iHQ is on floors 3 to 7 and provides over 25,000 square feet of space for innovation and entrepreneurship activities. It includes collaborative student workspace, maker space, open office space for innovation and entrepreneurship program participants and staff, and meeting rooms for activities.
Our neighbors at iHQ will include:
- Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship,
- MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation,
- MIT Innovation Initiative,
- MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund Program,
- New England I-Corps @ MIT,
- Alumni Venture Lab (a venue for events with alumni entrepreneurs)
We’ll have innovative neighbors next door, too. The Environmental Solutions Initiative and the Abdul Latif Jamil Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) will be in E39.
MIT Innovation Initiative (MITii) hopes co-location will increase participation in I&E programs and help MIT better understand who participates in the innovation ecosystem. They will keep track of the students, volunteers, and alumni entrepreneurs that take part in activities at the iHQ and the time they devote to these innovative programs. There is specific interest in improving gender balance and increasing participation from under-represented groups. Another goal of the iHQ is to accelerate the evolution of “tough tech” ventures, so they will also track the number of IP based ventures that are incubated, along with their progress on getting funding and moving towards equity events.
We look forward to our work with the budding entrepreneurs who come to the iHQ and to our increased engagement with our new neighbors.
To learn more about the MIT iHQ, visit https://innovation.mit.edu/innovation-infrastructure/ihq/
To learn more about the history of VMS, including our various locations across MIT, visit our history page.
To learn more about MIT’s campus re-opening plans and COVID-19 policies, visit https://now.mit.edu/