Collaborators and Affiliates at MIT

J-WAFS collaborates with a variety of departments, labs, centers, and programs across MIT to extend the reach of our research and activities. This includes efforts to transform MIT’s own policies and practices in order to improve the Institute’s water and food footprint.


The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation awards research grants and provides other types of assistance to MIT faculty members and research teams that are interested in commercializing MIT technologies. In addition to financial awards, the Deshpande Center provides mentorship by industry professionals, startup specialists, and experienced entrepreneurs; education about the innovation process; coaching on the commercialization and startup process, and introductions to venture investors.

Since 2015, J-WAFS has collaborated with the Deshpande Center to administer the J-WAFS Solutions program.

The MIT Food and Agriculture Club is a student group that is focused on supporting and promoting the engagement of the MIT community in food and agriculture sector-related topics. The group produces events and programming focusing on innovative technology and business solutions and connects people who are passionate about food and agriculture within and beyond the MIT community. Their highest-profile event, the Rabobank-MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize, is a student business plan competition produced in partnership with J-WAFS and funded by an annual gift from Rabobank.

The MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) is dedicated to creating and strengthening mutually beneficial relationships between MIT and corporations worldwide. ILP is a key player in making industrial connections for MIT, including facilitating the process of matching companies and corporations with MIT departments, labs, and centers to promote sponsored research.

J-WAFS works with ILP to grow our Research Affiliate program, which is a funding opportunity that enables corporate, government, or non-profit partners to directly support and engage with investigators from across the Institute pursuing research of mutual interest.

MIT India is part of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), which works with MIT students, faculty, and international partners and sponsors to build strong intercultural connections, advance crucial research with global implications, and help MIT students develop into world leaders. J-WAFS partners with MISTI-India to administer the MIT-IIT Ropar Seed Fund, which supports grants for early-stage collaborations between MIT and the Indian Institute for Technology Ropar (IIT Ropar).

The MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS) was established in 2013 under the Executive Vice President and Treasurer's Office to integrate sustainability across all levels of the Institute by engaging students, staff, faculty, alumni, and partners in sustainability efforts. MITOS works to ensure that sustainability is a critical part of MIT’s standard operating procedures and is fully integrated into the working, research, teaching, social and cultural spheres of the campus.

J-WAFS collaborates with MITOS on a variety of efforts to improve the sustainability of MIT’s water and food systems. This work has included representation on working groups addressing food sustainability and water sustainability, the participation of J-WAFS director John H. Lienhard V on the campus-wide sustainability leadership committee, and collaboration around other events and initiatives addressing water and food sustainability on campus.

The MIT Policy Lab enhances connections between MIT research and public policy. Its engagement with the MIT research community and US and international policy makers includes: identifying policy-relevant research on campus; working with faculty to identify the policy implications of their work; creating and implementing outreach strategies to engage relevant policymakers and other stakeholders in dialogue; and providing coaching and communication training to make that engagement effective.

Through a grant to J-WAFS and accompanying staff support, the MIT Policy Lab is helping to engage policy makers and stakeholders around the dissemination of the outcomes of a J-WAFS expert workshop on agriculture, climate change, water, and food security.

The MIT Technology Licensing Office [TLO] helps to move innovations and technologies from the lab to the marketplace for the benefit of the public and to amplify MIT’s global impact. In pursuit of this mission, they bridge connections from MIT’s research community to industry and startups, by strategically evaluating, protecting, and licensing technology.

The TLO is a key partner in the J-WAFS Solutions program, advising J-WAFS and its grantees on intellectual property and licensing questions, and similarly for the J-WAFS Research Affiliate program, which can lead to the development of IP and subsequent licensing of technologies.

The MIT Water Club is a student group that supports and promotes the engagement of the MIT community in water-sector-related research, innovation, activism, and networking. The group organizes conferences, lectures, research showcases, outreach events, and entrepreneurship competitions, including the high-profile annual events, the MIT Water Innovation Prize and the MIT Water Summit.

J-WAFS is a sponsor of the Water Club and also provides mentorship to the leadership team and participates in their events as speakers, judges, etc.

Affiliated Programs

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center housed in MIT’s School of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of 181 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

J-WAFS has funded J-PAL researchers addressing economics and policy approaches to water and food challenges, and has also partnered with J-PAL on external funding proposals.

MIT D-Lab works with communities around the world to develop and advance collaborative approaches and practical solutions to global poverty challenges through both educational and research programs with strong student involvement. J-WAFS grants have supported many MIT D-Lab affiliated researchers, and MIT D-Lab affiliates and leaders have served on grant review committees, participated in focused studies, and otherwise served in an advisory capacity for J-WAFS programs and initiatives.

The MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative is an Institute-wide effort to mobilize the substantial scientific, engineering, policy, and design capacity of the MIT community to contribute to addressing climate change and other environmental challenges of global import. Reporting directly to the Vice President for Research, ESI plays an active role in the implementation of MIT’s Plan for Climate Action. The interrelated missions of ESI and J-WAFS have brought both DLCs together as event co-sponsors, advisors on MIT sustainability initiatives and policies, and thought-partners on other initiatives.

An initiative of MIT and Community Jameel, the  Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-CLINIC) at MIT aims to revolutionize disease prevention, detection, and treatment. Its core mission is to incubate research at the intersection of computer science, big data, and the life sciences, and to drive the creation and commercialization of high-precision, affordable, and scalable machine-learning technologies to health care.

An initiative of MIT and Community Jameel, the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) engages educators, technologists, policymakers, societal leaders, employers, and employees through online and in-person collaborations, workshops, research, and information-sharing events.