Innovation and Entrepreneurship

DMSE has the most patents, licenses, and startups per faculty member of all MIT departments. Every year during our MADMEC competition, teams of graduate and undergraduate students develop concepts for a materials-based product or company; several of those teams have gone on to form successful businesses.

DMSE fosters a strategic approach to materials entrepreneurship: These endeavors are opportunities to create value and make a positive difference in the world. At every level, members of our community identify essential societal needs and develop novel, materials-based approaches to meet them. By thinking entrepreneurially, our students learn to assess the value of an unconventional but promising idea, predict the practical impact of a theoretical discovery, and connect their studies with broader societal and economic dynamics.

Materials science startups often require greater capital investment and longer development cycles than digital companies. We embrace this through our “go long” attitude, knowing that the world’s significant innovations accrue value not just over a few years, but over many decades. Our commitment is deeper, and our impact disproportionately larger. The Department has a history of success in this area, as reflected in the hundreds of patents granted to our faculty and our graduates’ track record of launching profitable ventures.

In DMSE, students are in an atmosphere of innovation. In the 3.042 classroom, they learn design and prototyping, with a goal of developing a potentially viable product or system; they are invited to enter design and innovation contests in the Department and across the Institute; and they can apply for fellowships and other funding to bring their ideas to reality. DMSE faculty, students, and staff participate in competitions and funding opportunities like MADMEC, Sandbox, the Engine, and more.