Check back soon for deadline for the submission for the 2016–2017 academic year.
The Translational Fellows Program (TFP) is a competitive, nomination-based, year-long postdoc program that funds its fellows for a-day-a-week, providing them the opportunity to pursue commercialization of a technology that originated in MIT research. The program provides mentoring resources, integrated conflict-of-interest (COI) management and other support to help contain risk and maximize the opportunity to create a new venture. The TFP empowers postdocs to lead commercialization planning efforts, facilitating the launch of a successful commercial venture. The TFP aligns resources available through MIT’s rich entrepreneurial ecosystem to bridge the gap in the chain of research-based innovation and accelerate the pace of technology translation, thus increasing the impact of MIT’s research-derived innovations.
This program, entering its fourth year, builds on the RLE TFP which was introduced as a seed program in 2013.
Specific goals and expectations of the fellows:
- Studying the commercial opportunity and potential markets of a specific body of IP generated through research
- Learning how to perform customer discovery, customer validation and the creation of a viable business model
- Understanding best path to market and timelines involved
- Assess the level of technical risk and the path to a “working” prototype
- Document & share lessons learned
- Engaging with a VMS mentor team
- Connecting with the entrepreneurship ecosystem at MIT (such as ILP, Martin Trust Center)
- Engaging the TLO on options for licensing the technology
- Understand range of funding sources and their roles/optimal timing
As the time of incorporation approaches, plans are developed to assure smooth transitions and minimize any exposure to COI issues.
- Be a current postdoctoral associate at MIT in one of the affiliated departments/labs
- Have support of their research advisor
- Have a project that is primed for commercialization
- Be a significant contributor to the technology proposed
- Be highly motivated and have a strong interest in leading entrepreneurial activities
- Commit to a 20% (a-day-a-week) effort
Application and Selection Process:
The TFP application has two components:
- Nomination Letter:
Applicants (postdoctoral associates) and their projects must be nominated by their research advisor via a nomination letter. It is expected that the research advisor will address the selection criteria points (below) in the letter.
The postdoctoral applicant must provide a PowerPoint presentation that provides an explanation of the idea/technology, addresses the selection criteria, and includes information about the applicant and why they are the right person to take this idea to market. Slide guidelines >>
Applications will be reviewed by the TFP Selection Committee which is comprised of MIT faculty, alumni and industry experts. Postdocs and their venture proposals are evaluated on the following:
- Support of the research advisor
- MIT research-derived technology
- Expectation of commercialization timeline, market potential and impact
- Genuine interest in exploring commercialization
- Alignment of research group
- Interested, mature, competent & engaged postdoc
- Absence of competing mechanisms for commercializing IP