Tata Center, MIT
The Tata Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US was founded in 2012 and supports the work of MIT faculty and graduate students whose research aligns with the centre’s mission. The Center brings world-class researchers from India and MIT together to develop technologically sophisticated solutions to some of India’s most pressing challenges. Numerous disciplines, including mechanical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, architecture, business administration, and urban planning, are represented at the centre. The centre’s focus areas include agriculture, environment, health, energy, water and housing, and the research in these areas is shaped from a systems perspective to contribute to society through policy, affordable products and services and talent development.
Many of the Center’s projects were jointly carried out in collaboration with its sister centre at IIT-Bombay; the centres serve as academic bases for each other. Other projects involved dozens of collaborators from other universities, research centres, government agencies, firms and social organisations. The Center has trained 45 Indian graduate students and 12 Indian post-docs, and has over 60 active collaborations in India. Tata Center, MIT has also launched 11 start-up companies.
E25Bio, one of the start-ups is developing diagnostic tools for some of the world’s most devastating viral diseases such as zika, dengue and chikungunya. Another start-up, FYTO, is commercialising integrated biological systems that produce nutrient-dense agricultural inputs such as feed, fodder and fertilisers from waste streams through intensified hydroponics. Waya is commercialising a sophisticated electricity system planning software, specifically for low-access states and countries. Takachar is developing mobile biomass conversion devices that generate valuable products such as activated carbon, biochar, etc, from agricultural residues in a bid to develop alternatives to burning crop residue.
FYTO’s pilot venture in Gujarat in collaboration with the Trusts’ CiNI programme was so successful that they replicated it successfully to produce feed for dairy operations. Waya collaborated closely with Tata Power, with the support of the Trusts, to use REM extensively in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, as well as in Nigeria, Rwanda and Mozambique. This project was also supported by General Electric, the World Bank and Shell Foundation.