Questions and answers about the Collective

If you have any questions about the program or application connect with us or email

This program is open only to members of the MIT community. Grant funds are intended to support productization and commercialization of AI-focused research in any field.

Applications should include budgets within the range of $10K to $100K and can span a time frame from 6 months to a year.

You can apply to the program without a PI. The AI Collective will work with you to match you with one.

Application for the Spring 2024 Fellowship closes December 1st, 2023.

A selection committee reviews applications. If applications are eligible, project teams will be invited to interview with the committee, which will make its decision following those interviews.

None. Teams don’t have to have market-tested their research before applying. The program will help them get started. 

If they have done some research, that is also fine: customer discovery is an ongoing process. 

The program is focused on helping teams commercialize the research they are working on. The mission is to assist in taking technology out of the lab and making it into a viable business. 

The expectation is teams will be highly motivated to work on commercialization. This means that at least one team member will have to dedicate a substantial amount of time to interaction with mentors provided by the program, and to the customer discovery process.

Grants shall be used for translational research as described in the submitted proposal. They are intended to support postdocs or graduate students working on commercialization efforts.

The mission of the program is to advance research toward commercialization. The program will provide guidance and team building opportunities. Grantees understand that, if supported by the program, they will be expected to participate as appropriate. This includes regular meetings with mentors as well as customer discovery activities and events such as workshops and presentations.

No. Pillar’s support of the program is a gift to the university.

Yes, they follow the same TLO and IP rights as other MIT research.

Ideally, the budget should include a half an RA or part-time salary of a postdoc for the spring term, with the idea that they can get a stipend to work full-time on the commercialization afterwards. The grant money can be used to cover travel focused on the customer discovery process.  It can also also be used toward developing an MVP or prototype. 

Yes, the grants will incur the usual MIT overhead.

Their role is to aid in customer discovery and help grantees better understand their potential markets. The prospective customers listed on the website are just some members of the network that the program may connect with a team.  Being able to have conversations with prospective customers or partners is essential to the entrepreneurial journey.  The AI Collective is committed to facilitating introductions to experienced industry leaders that are willing to give their time to have those conversations.  

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