Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.08.05 AM.png
Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.08.05 AM.png

Join Us


Join Us

The MIT Media Lab Emerging Worlds Special Interest Group (SIG) seeks the support of organizations and individuals who believe in using bottom-up technology innovation to solve pressing problems worldwide. Our members share our commitment, passion and vision. Through collaboration we can help improve the lives and livelihoods of people around the world in new ways – giving them tools to innovate and to empower themselves and members of their communities.

Joining Emerging Worlds is an exciting way to showcase your support, while engaging with change makers affiliated with the MIT Media Lab. You will have access to creative thinkers and local markets, as well as a window into the future.

Undergraduate research opportunities Application

The Emerging Worlds SIG is seeking a UROP for the summer 2017. This is for an undergraduate enrolled at either MIT or Wellesley College with an affinity for and demonstrated skills/experience in social science and innovation for social impact. Experience in an emerging economy is a plus. This student will conduct social science research and produce a current assessment and recommendations in one or more of these areas: 

  • Innovation programs structure/models
  • Sourcing grand challenges
  • Networks of innovation hubs/clubs
  • Measuring social impact – formulas and tools
  • Ethics of engaging for social impact

Please view details here:


Innovators and entrepreneurs work alongside one another, as well as with MIT Media Lab researchers and stakeholders from the local innovation ecosystem. They will all work with you and mentor you to help you develop as an innovator and to progress ideas that can impact billions. Throughout the process, you will achieve a higher level of skill and competency that will stay with you, long after the Emerging Worlds work may have concluded.

Apply HERE to innovate at DISQ in Nashik. 

Apply HERE to innovate eye health solutions in Hyderabad 

Apply HERE to innovate health tech in Mumbai


As a corporate member of Emerging Worlds, you can propose a challenge, sponsor an Emerging Worlds Fellow, or mentor innovators in a center. When you submit a challenge, you influence the work that innovators or researchers take on, and you also influence the results. You will be a pivotal player in the innovation ecosystem – to generate ideas for MIT Media Lab students to research, scale innovations, and create competitive advantage for your business.

Innovation centers

Each location where the MIT team runs innovation camps or “buildathons” becomes a hub of the area’s innovation ecosystem – bringing together innovators and other stakeholders from government, industry, and academia. Starting and running a center provides a city an opportunity to experience bottom-up innovation first hand – to utilize their unique skills and environment to solve local problems in context.


The mentor model is similar to that of the Venture Mentoring Service at MIT: “Our mentors are an elite group of professionals carefully selected based on their expertise in business formation and operations, and for their skills as advisors as well as their desire and ability to give back.” Mentors are a key component of the Emerging Worlds model.

As a mentor, you will expand your network, connect with stakeholders in the local innovation ecosystem, and have the opportunity to give back to the next generation.


Governments engage with Emerging Worlds to promote economic development and job creation. Government leaders have insights into the public needs, plans and challenges of their city. They also have implementation expertise. In Nashik, Maharashtra in August and September 2015, local government officials worked closely with the MIT Media Lab team and local innovators in the run-up to the Kumbh Mela – in order to clearly articulate the need for crowd management, for example – and to ensure that the solutions matched those needs. As a result of the collaboration and meticulous planning, the city boasted zero stampedes for the first time ever at a Kumbh Mela.


Institutions of higher learning are constantly striving to attract the best talent and to enable their alumni to be as successful as possible. Many students and researchers gravitate to opportunities to be creative and to make a difference. The Emerging Worlds initiative presents opportunities for current students and recent graduates to apply their knowledge and skills to “spot and probe” solutions that will have a direct impact on their communities. There are also many opportunities for faculty to mentor teams and help progress solutions.


Fostering the innovation process in multiple locations to empower citizens and address pressing challenges takes capital. The advancement of technological innovation — whether it’s in health, education, financial inclusion, food and agriculture, housing, transportation, or local business— does not come without cost.

The Emerging Worlds SIG seeks the help of organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of Innovating for Billions. Your support makes an immediate impact on our efforts to make a huge impact globally. This work will generate ideas for MIT Media Lab students to research, it will enable innovations to scale more quickly, and it will create competitive advantage for our members.