About Us

About Us

Our Mission

We are bringing rich technical talent and experience to bear on the persistent and emerging challenges of the developing world.

We seek to push the boundaries of what is possible and find new ways of using sophisticated science and technology to bring the benefits of modernity to resource-constrained communities.

Our strategy is to have a large and sustained impact by translating our ideas and discoveries into affordable products and services, scientifically-informed policy tools, and entrepreneurial ventures. We work closely with on-the-ground collaborators and with community members to design appropriate, practical solutions.

At a Glance

  • 60+ affiliated faculty members from across MIT
  • 100+ graduate student Tata Fellows
  • More than 40 projects active in India, Nepal, and sub-Saharan Africa

The Tata Center was founded in 2012 with generous support from the Tata Trusts, one of India’s oldest philanthropic organizations. The Trusts have been working to empower the under-served communities of Indian society since 1919, providing financial support to non-profit organizations across the country, while also engaging directly in the areas of natural resource management and rural livelihoods; education; health; media, arts, crafts and culture; and urban poverty and livelihoods.

We are proud to partner with our sister-centre, founded in 2014 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Our Story: The TATA Trusts

Bringing MIT research into the real world


Many Pathways to making a difference

A key component of the Tata Center’s mission is training engineers, architects, and scientists to do work that has a tangible impact in the developing world. We approach problems with the goal of deploying appropriate, sustainable solutions that support communities, assist policymakers, and can survive in a competitive marketplace.

Better systems through research

Many issues facing resource-constrained communities cannot be solved by technology alone. It is equally important to investigate and address the larger systemic problems that influence quality of life. Sound policy decisions, supported by thorough research, are vital in managing resources, allocating funds, and improving social conditions for marginalized groups.

Tata Center researchers are looking at the big picture in diverse fields such as clean water delivery, agricultural yields, public space, and seismically-resilient construction, and providing policy recommendations at the local, state, and national level.

Tata Center alumni have also formed new NGOs to carry on work that began at MIT, and have leveraged their research to expand the capacity of existing NGOs. We are committed to working collaboratively with communities, businesses, and the government to reach common goals.


Our Students

Beginning with their Tata Fellowships, and in many cases continuing long after, our students take their research from the theoretical to the actual. They create products, influence policy, and launch businesses, all without losing sight of the main goal: Improving quality-of-life for billions of people in the developing world. The products, systems, and technologies that Tata Center researchers develop are designed to be scalable, high-performing, and optimized for the needs of emerging markets in India and elsewhere.

Bringing MIT research into the real world

The Tata Center innovation method emphasizes an entrepreneurial mindset, encouraging students to create solutions that can thrive in a marketplace. Tata Fellows do not just receive rigorous instruction in engineering and science; they are also steeped in the developing world context and MIT’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Now in its seventh year, the Tata Center has begun to produce student teams with a high-impact solution to a problem and the business acumen to compete in high-octane entrepreneurship competitions and ultimately launch their own company.


Creating sustainable change at the global, national, and community level doesn’t happen without strong, interdisciplinary collaborations. Collaborators are an essential part of all of our projects, deeply involved with the design, testing, and implementation of the Tata Center’s unique, sustainable solutions to persistent challenges in India and the developing world.

The Tata Center is proud to count some of India’s leading organizations in a variety of fields among its collaborators and supporters, working toward common goals, sharing expertise, resources, and vision.