MIT Innovation Diplomats

Each year, 100s of MIT students pursue international opportunities through study abroad programs like MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).

MIT Innovation Diplomats (iDiplomats) is a summer internship that builds on existing global programs, such as MISTI, at MIT. The objective of iDiplomats is to equip students with Innovation Ecosystem Frameworks, knowledge, and tools they can use in preparation for their global activities, while on the summer internship, and later in their careers as innovators in a range of professions and locations. Through iDiplomats students will be prepared to explore how stakeholders in the innovation economies come together to create conditions for innovation-driven prosperity across international cultures and policies.

iDiplomats is designed to leverage the expertise of the innovation and entrepreneurship community on campus including the MIT Innovation Initiative (MITii), MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP), Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship (MIT Entrepreneurship Centre), MIT Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship (Legatum) and Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Leaders (REAL).


MIT REAP iDiplomats in Mongolia, Summer 2016 / PHOTO CREDIT: UURDEE GONGOR

iDiplomats Tracks

iDiplomats offers two tracks to MIT students:

  • Part-time track (MIT iDiplomats): students work in a specific region as determined by their MIT internship (MISTI, Legatum, Public Service Center, etc.) and work part-time as an iDiplomat with the goal to learn and better understand the innovation ecosystem of a specific region.
  • Full-time track (MIT REAP iDiplomats): students are matched with REAP teams and directly work to support the REAP strategy and activities of the REAP team. The activities that students can engage in range from assisting with ecosystem assessment, research, engaging with different stakeholders, and implementing specific parts of a REAP strategy. These students will also do an assessment of the innovation ecosystem same as the part-time students.

Why Participate in iDiplomats?

iDiplomats program allows MIT students to:

  • Deeper understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship in a MIT REAP Region
  • Practice career skills, enhanced through a focus on informal diplomacy
  • Enhance professional network in a region, especially through opportunities to link MIT alumni on shared challenge areas
  • Receive a stipend to cover travel and accommodation
  • Receive academic credit upon successful completion of the program
  • Develop a deeper understanding of IDE projects and challenges specific to MIT REAP Team’s and regions

How is iDiplomats Designed?

Most of the program occurs during summer session, but there are several requirements ahead of leaving for a summer internship including assignments and orientation workshops. There are also key assignments and milestones to achieve during the summer. Lastly, there is a final presentation in early fall.

MIT Innovation Diplomats Workshops

Students are required to attend two workshops. The objective of these workshops is to equip students with Innovation Ecosystem frameworks and concepts. iDiplomats may also be required to attend a ‘country-specific’ workshop, organized by MISTI, to cover topics such as: cross-cultural communication, current events, technology and innovation in the iDiplomats host country, navigating the workplace, health and safety.

MIT Innovation Diplomats Assignments

There are 6 required assignments that students will need to complete and two of the assignments are due prior to departing on the summer internship. There is also one optional assignment that the student can choose to do in order to further their understanding of key programs that aim to improve Innovation Capacity (iCap) and Entrepreneurial Capacity (eCap) in a region’s innovation ecosystem.

  • MIT Innovation Ecosystem Framework (@MIT)
  • List of Potential Interviewees (@MIT)
  • Interviews (In-region)
  • Interviews + Programs (In-region)
  • Final iDiplomats Report (@MIT)
  • Final iDiplomats Presentation (@MIT)
  • OPTIONAL: A. Program Intervention deep-dive; B. Additional Interviews (In-region)

Outcomes of MIT REAP iDiplomats

As a student completes their iDiplomats internship, they will have a deeper understanding of:

  • Innovation Ecosystem Frameworks: Structured approach to gathering and analyzing data about the ways in which innovation and entrepreneurship in MIT REAP Regions is supported or hindered by financial capital, human talent, infrastructure, etc.
  • Innovation Contexts: MIT REAP Region specific cultural and political sights into the nature and role of innovation diplomacy
  • Diplomacy & Networks: Understand the key stakeholders in MIT REAP Region innovation ecosystem, meet with alumni and others in the region to continue in-the-field analysis, allowing them to forge relationships with leaders in among government, corporate, entrepreneurs, risk capital, and academia stakeholder categories.

How to Apply?

  • Apply by sending your application to idiplomats@mit.eduDeadline March 30th
  • Receive admission decision by MIT REAP – April
  • Start iDiplomats program – May

Example iDiplomats Reports