MIT Water and Food Resources

Collaboration and Networking

J-WAFS maintains a networking spreadsheet for persons active in the Food & Water sectors. The spreadsheet is designed to convene students, faculty, and industry for collaborative work on research, prize competitions or other proposals.

MIT Climate

The MIT Climate Portal serves as a community forum to connect people leading research and action on climate change through worldwide discussion.

Student and Alumni Groups

MIT Water Club

The MIT Water Club serves as a forum for discussion and teaching about water technology, policy and science.

MIT Food & Agriculture Club

The MIT Food and Agriculture Club brings together students – and other MIT community members – to educate, coordinate and support work in the areas of food and agriculture.

Sloan Sustainability Initiative

“We work at multiple levels to fulfill our mission of spreading innovative ideas that promote sustainable practices."

MIT Energy Club

The MIT Energy Club is one of the largest student-run organizations at MIT, with over 5,000 members. Our mission is to bring students, professionals, and policymakers together for facts-based analyses of the most pressing challenges in energy.

MIT Energy, Environment, and Sustainability Network

The MIT Energy, Environment, and Sustainability Network is a Facebook group of MIT students and alumni who want to identify and share expertise and interests in energy and the environment with others.

Prize Competitions

Norman B. Leventhal City Prize

LCAU has announced the Norman B. Leventhal City Prize, a $100,000 award given to MIT faculty to undertake an urban design project in partnership with an external organization. The award’s first cycle focuses on resilience. Urban resilience solutions often involve modifications, such as rooftop gardens and greenways, that strengthen the natural environment and local agriculture.

Awards: One grant of $100,000
Team Requirements: MIT faculty in conjunction with government agency, nonprofit organization, or civic leadership organization
Upcoming Dates: LOI submission due April 16, 2019. Full proposal due May 31, 2019.

More information.

LCAU Prize Logo

Rabobank-MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize

This new prize is intended to be the premier food and agribusiness business plan competition for university and graduate students. It is sponsored by Rabobank, a leading institution in agribusiness financing, and is supported by J-WAFS and the MIT Food and Agriculture Club. The two-stage competition will culminate with finalist teams presenting their business plans as they compete to win $25,000 in total prize money.

Awards: Three prizes ranging from $5,000 to $12,000
Team Requirements: Undergraduate or graduate student teams of between 2-5 members.
Business Stage: All stages of development.
Upcoming Dates: Dates for the 2018 prize competitions will be announced in Fall 2017.

More information and 2017 prize winners

MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize

MIT Water Innovation Prize

The MIT Water Innovation Prize is a solutions to market competition focused on water startups. It uses a competitive platform to promote the creation and development of innovative products & services aimed at solving the world's water challenges.

Awards: Varied grants totaling $30,000
Team Requirements: Submissions are open to teams of 2-5 current students (Graduate or Undergraduate) from MIT or a regional university. At least one student must be a U.S. citizen and at least one student must be able to attend the final pitch showcase in Cambridge, MA.
Business Stage: Early-development stage ideas welcome. Teams cannot have secured existing capital in excess of $50,000 (exclusive of research and technology development funding)
Upcoming Dates: Dates for the 2018 prize competitions will be announced in Fall 2017.

More information and 2017 prize winners

MIT Water Innovation Prize

MIT Clean Energy Prize

The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a multi-stage, student-organized business plan competition. University teams from across the United States enter their business ideas in one of three categories:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Renewable Energy
  • Infrastructure & Resources

MIT CEP judges select 15-21 business plans (5-7 from each category), which then receive mentoring, $1,000, and access to other MIT CEP resources. During this time, semifinalists develop and refine their business plans before presenting them to a panel of expert judges at the CEP Finals event

Awards: Several awards totaling $380,000
Team Requirements: Submissions are open to teams of at least 2 persons. Teams must be composed of at least 50% students enrolled as half-time or greater students in accredited U.S. universities or colleges. At least one student must be a U.S. citizen.
Business Stage: The prize is designed to support a new business model. Applicants cannot have secured capital in excess of $100,000, excluding funding for research and development. Teams must be incorporated or otherwise organized as a legal business entity by the final awards night.
Upcoming Dates: 2017 dates to be announced

More Info

MIT Clean Energy Prize

MIT Global Ideas Challenge

Developed in conjunction with MIT's 150th anniversary in 2011 and built on the success of the IDEAS Competition, the IDEAS Global Challenge offers a window into innovation at MIT and invites students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their collaborators to identify and address community development challenges through innovation and collaboration in communities around the world.

Awards: Up to $10,000
Team Requirements: Teams must be led by MIT students. MIT students must have made a significant and demonstrable contribution to the project. Teams must have a community partner.
Business Stage: All stages of development.
Upcoming Dates: Initial scope due October 27th, 2016

More Info

MIT Global Ideas Challenge

MIT 100k

One competition – three independent contests – from September through May. For 25 years, the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition has been bringing together students and researchers from across MIT and Greater Boston to launch their talent, ideas, and technology into leading companies. The competition is run as a series of distinct, increasingly intensive contests:

  • Pitch
  • Accelerate
  • Launch

Each contest focuses on developing specific founding skills, and for each semi-finalist contender the MIT $100K brings together a network of resources, including mentorship from venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and attorneys; media exposure; prototyping funds; business plan feedback; and discounted services. Additionally, more than $300K in non-dilutive awards help these new ventures accelerate.

Awards: Between $1,000 and $100,000
Team Requirements: Teams must include at least one registered MIT student (Undergraduate, Graduate, or Post-Doctoral candidate). Teams must not have accepted institutional funding for the idea presented. Teams must not have accepted any non-institutional funding in excess of $150,000.
Business Stage: Varies depending on contest applied for.
Upcoming Dates: Pitch is the first contest of the MIT $100K.  The Finale will be held on November 1st in MIT Building 10-250

More Info

MIT 100k

Lemelson-MIT "Eat It!" Track Prize

The student prize is open to teams of undergraduate students and individual graduate students who have inventions in categories that represent significant sectors of the economy. "Eat it!" rewards students working on technology-based inventions that can improve food and agriculture.

Awards: Up to $15,000
Team Requirements: Students can consist of an undergraduate team, or an individual graduate student. Graduates students must have at least two tested prototypes prior to application.
Business Stage: All stages of development.
Upcoming Dates: Initial application deadline: Friday, September 30, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern

More Info


Solve MIT

Solve MIT is an MIT initiative with the goal of identifying the best solutions to specific, actionable global challenges through open innovation.   Solutions are solicited through periodic open calls and are open to anyone around the globe.  "Solvers" are selected by a panel of judges and are featured in annual events, receive industry mentors, and have access to the community of leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers invested in seeing the solutions flourish. 

Awards: Mentorship opportunities by global business executives and entrepreneurs as well as access to the Solve community.
Team Requirements: Anyone in the world can participate in a Solve challenge and submit a solution. Calls for solutions are topic-specific and announced periodically.
Business Stage: All stages of development.
Upcoming Dates: Varies; see website for details.

More Info

Solve MIT logo

MIT Programs

Center for Advanced Urbanism

The Center for Advanced Urbanism is committed to fostering a rigorous design culture for the large scale; by focusing our disciplinary conversations about architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and systems thinking, not about the problems of yesterday, but of tomorrow.

Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM

This Center is a partnership between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) Mechanical Engineering Departments. Our collaboration focuses on research in desalination, low carbon energy, related areas of design and manufacturing as well as curriculum development in Mechanical Engineering.

Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling

CENSAM is a collaborative research program involving many faculty members from CEE and other departments and universities. Researchers primarily from MIT and universities in Singapore are developing pervasive environmental sensor networks to collect data from many sources on parameters such as air and water quality.

Center for Global Change Science

The MIT Center for Global Change Science (CGCS) seeks to better understand the natural mechanisms in ocean, atmosphere, and land systems that together control the Earth's climate, and to apply improved knowledge to problems of predicting climate changes.


As part of the City Science initiative at the MIT Media Lab, we explore the technological, environmental, social, and economic design of scalable systems capable of producing affordable and high quality food in the heart of our future cities.

Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE)

The Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE) is an MIT program dedicated to developing methods for product evaluation in global development. They develop courses on product evaluation in global development for students and practitioners such as this 2017 edX course, Technology Evaluation for Global Development, as well as toolkits and models for practitioners who want to replicate their approach.

The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

The Center provides grants and resources to help MIT faculty and students move their ideas from the lab to the market place.


D-Lab is building a global network of innovators to design and disseminate technologies that meaningfully improve the lives of people living in poverty. The program’s mission is pursued through interdisciplinary courses, technology development, and community initiatives, all of which emphasize experiential learning, real-world projects, community-led development, and scalability.

Environmental Policy and Planning Group (Department of Urban Studies and Planning)

The Environmental Policy and Planning Group (EPP) focuses on the decision-making tools by which society conserves and manages natural resources and ensures sustainable development. Areas of concern include toxic and hazardous waste management, environmental technology, water and air quality, global climate change, facility siting, environmental justice and brownfield development.

Environmental Soutions Initiative

This new initiative promotes research that engages wide participation by members of the MIT community to address the most significant interdisciplinary problems in our environment, spanning the physical and social sciences; engineering; and urban planning and policy.

Jameel Poverty Action Lab Agricultural Productivity Program

J-PAL's Agriculture Program focuses on researching strategies to improve agricultural productivity.

Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

The MIT Joint Program integrates natural and social science to produce analyses relevant to global change and energy policy debates. By bringing together both science and policy, the Joint Program provides an independent assessment of the impacts of global change and the expected values of responsive action.

Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship

The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT was founded on the belief that economic progress and good governance in low-income countries emerge from entrepreneurship and innovations that empower ordinary citizens.

Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship

The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship educates and nurtures students from across the Institute who are interested in learning the skills to design, launch, and grow innovation-based ventures.

Media Lab

Actively promoting a unique, antidisciplinary culture, the MIT Media Lab encourages an unconventional mixing and matching of seemingly disparate research areas.

MIT Energy Initiative

The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) helps transform the global energy system to meet the needs of the future and helps build a bridge to that future by improving today's energy systems. The four components of the MITEI program are energy research, education, campus energy management, and outreach activities.

MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamps

The MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp program creates MOOCs devoted to entrepreneurship and innovation and produces a series of multi-day application-only "bootcamps" around the globe where participants can develop and practice skills in entrepreneurship. In 2017 they started the MIT Beyond Food bootcamp and hosted a series of webinars on food innovations which are archived and available here.

MIT Innovation Initiative

The MIT Innovation Initiative is an Institute-wide, multi-year agenda to transform the Institute’s innovation ecosystem – internally, around the globe and with its partners – for accelerated impact well into the 21st century.

MIT Venture Mentoring Service

The MIT Venture Mentoring Service is a free and confidential service exclusively for the MIT community in the greater Boston area. MIT VMS harnesses the knowledge and experience of volunteer experienced entrepreneurs to help prospective entrepreneurs develop the business skills needed to bring their ideas and inventions to market. VMS is for MIT students, alumni, faculty and staff who have ideas they would like to see placed into practice. MIT VMS participants receive practical hands-on advice from teams of 2-5 mentors tailored to each mentee’s challenges.

Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering

The Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has a long history of highly respected water and environmental research. From its inception as a hydrodynamics laboratory in the 1950s, the lab has evolved into a multidisciplinary research center focused primarily on natural waters and the environment.