Engagement Principles

Principles for Engagement with Private Funders of MIT Research

MIT researchers are motivated to solve problems that are ambitious and highly challenging and that may have important long term impacts. Solving complex problems may require the involvement of individuals from different organizations and different fields of expertise. Each year the Institute receives funding from corporations, charitable foundations, individuals and other private entities to support hundreds of research projects in areas of shared interest. As with all research conducted at MIT, these projects are conducted in accordance with MIT policies and procedures. The following set of core principles also guides MIT in these private sector collaborations:

  • For MIT, the overriding objective of research collaborations is to advance knowledge for the “betterment of humankind,” in the words of MIT’s mission. The Institute works with partners when there is mutual agreement on the need to solve major problems, and when, in seeking to solve such problems, it is possible to take advantage of MIT’s great strengths. 
  • Participation in research projects is at the discretion of the Principal Investigator and must be fully consistent with MIT’s non-discrimination policy.
  • Conflicts of interest must be identified and managed.
  • MIT insists upon transparency and open access to information to the maximum extent possible. Researchers understand that there are times when confidentiality is necessary – for example, in order to gain access to proprietary data that would not otherwise be made available. Yet it is essential that MIT faculty members, researchers, post-doctoral scholars and students be able to discuss research results freely among themselves and with peers, to publish freely, and to educate the world about their findings.
  • While MIT’s research partners help to identify research areas of mutual interest and may consult on research as it moves forward, MIT faculty members, researchers, post-doctoral scholars and students retain control over the design and management of their research projects at all times.
  • MIT seeks to use its intellectual property for the public good, from ideas to practice, consistent with the Institute’s motto of “Mens et manus", or “Mind and hand”.
  • When questions or concerns arise regarding a research engagement, including questions or concerns regarding conduct on the part of either MIT or its research partners, the Vice-President for Research, Provost or other senior officer as appropriate, in consultation with participating faculty, reviews them in order to determine what remedying actions, if any, are warranted.