MIT has announced plans to create an “Innovation Node,” a collaborative space aimed at boosting innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities, in Hong Kong. The Node, slated to open in July 2016, will bring together MIT students, researchers, and faculty to work on projects with alumni, entrepreneurs, and businesses based in Hong Kong.
“In creating this node in Hong Kong, MIT is committing to advancing our engagement with the region in a mutually beneficial way,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif told MIT News. Reif is currently visiting Hong Kong with a delegation from the Institute.
Charles Sodini, the Clarence J. LeBel Professor in Electrical Engineering and faculty director of the Innovation Node, observed that locating the project in Hong Kong will provide access to a manufacturing infrastructure skilled in rapid, low-cost prototyping.
“Manufacturers in Shenzen have mastered the ability to take a prototype device to unit quantities of hundreds overnight,” said Sodini. “Giving our students access and experience with this capability educates them in how to move more quickly from idea to product.”
MIT has enjoyed a long history of collaboration with Greater China. For more than 20 years, the Institute has partnered with Chinese universities. This new connection will strengthen and expand opportunities for collaboration with the Hong Kong community, including:
• Internship opportunities for MIT students at companies in Hong Kong and Shenzen, through the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives’ (MISTI) China Program.
• Education programs, including workshops, where MIT and local innovators can work together on venture-based projects.
• Engagement opportunities for “action learning,” especially through the MIT China Lab, which pairs MIT Sloan students with students from China’s top business schools.
The Innovation Node will be overseen by a steering committee of MIT faculty and administrators, as well as an advisory group of Hong Kong alumni that will help coordinate programs. A search is currently underway for a Hong Kong-based executive director.