The Engine Blueprint Program

Turning Tough Tech breakthroughs into Tough Tech startups.

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About Blueprint

Blueprint is a nonresident program for graduate students, postdocs, research scientists, faculty members, and their teams, to explore the commercial opportunities of their breakthroughs and startup projects.

The program helps the next generation of Tough Tech leaders navigate the commercialization process through tailored programming concerning technology risk mitigation and experimentation planning, market discovery and selection, IP, team building, storytelling, and other topics.

Blueprint provides participants access to The Engine team, Tough Tech founders, investors, policymakers, and representatives from major corporations.

Blueprint by the numbers

24 teams 10 institutions

31 participants 5 virtual sessions

48 teams 22 institutions

78 participants 5 virtual sessions

56 teams 20 institutions

97 participants 5 virtual sessions

72 teams 22 institutions

185 participants 5 virtual sessions

Real opportunities. Real impact.

Identifying the series of milestones that will prepare you for commercialization.

Read Paris’ story

Connecting benchtop science to big picture problems.

Read Ashley’s story

Redesigning technologies to maximize benefit for both people and planet.

Read Michelle’s story

Leveling up as a founder and leading an early team.

Read Paloma’s story

Navigating the transition from research scientist to entrepreneur.

Read Aaron’s story

Building on the lessons of others to accelerate the commercialization of specialized technology.

Read Floris’ story

Pushing the business to the next level through strategic mentorship.

Read Brendan’s story

Building on the lessons of the community to create a better Tough Tech startup.

Read Rachita’s story

Overcoming technical and business uncertainty to become a Tough Tech founder.

Read Paul’s story

Blueprint provides the next generation of Tough Tech leaders with tailored programming.

Technology & Scaling

Scaling a technology from the bench to commercialization: identifying risks, establishing milestones, and putting plans into action.

Market & Regulatory

Understanding and navigating markets and regulations, establishing a business model.

Fundraising Prep

Working towards successful fundraising by identifying possible investors, understanding the market, and doing the homework.


Telling a compelling story and vision of your company that engages and attracts investors, partners, and talent.

Fall 2022

  1. June 30: Applications Open
  2. July 27: Introduction to Blueprint Event
  3. August 12: Applications Close
  4. September 9: Session 1 | Introduction & Overview
  5. September 16: Session 2 | Technology & Scaling
  6. September 23: Session 3 | Market and Regulatory
  7. September 30: Session 4 | Fundraising & Storytelling
  8. October 7: Session 5 | Final Presentations

Questions for The Engine? Please contact Alex Grant.

Michael Kearney

We believe in the unbounded potential of exceptional individuals pursuing impact through innovation. Our goal with Blueprint is to provide a set of tools as a boost to start that journey.

Michael Kearney Partner, The Engine
Blueprint Mentor


Does The Engine take an interest or equity stake in or create a formal business relationship with the Blueprint Founders or their entities?

We do not take an equity stake in or create a formal business relationship during Blueprint. At some point, The Engine may engage in investment conversations with Founders after the program, but that is a separate process.

Who is eligible?

US-based: graduate students (Masters or PhD), postdocs, research scientists currently enrolled in/employed at a university, or founder(s) early in the commercialization process.

Must I have started a company?

No. If you have an amazing technical breakthrough and the passion to see it commercialized, we’d love to hear from you. We are also happy to review applications for those who have already begun the first steps towards formalizing a Tough Tech business.

Do I need a team?

Teams are encouraged to apply, but not required.

Will my application materials be kept confidential?

Yes. Your application materials will be viewed only by members of The Engine selection committee.

How will IP be handled?

Your IP developed through your research is your IP. This program is to facilitate business model and commercialization strategy development. Accordingly, no IP will be developed in this program.

How do I know if I/we are too early or too late?

If you can fill out the questionnaire and have not yet started a company, you’re a perfect fit. If you have already incorporated a company, please email zyx.enigne@tnarg.xela.

Does The Engine only accept applicants from Massachusetts?

No. We are accepting applications from across the United States.

What are your selection criteria?

Projects will be selected based on the merits of the technological breakthrough and its potential impact.

How are fellows selected?

The Engine team will review all applications. Applicants will be informed via an acceptance email.

What if I can’t make it for one of the weeks / days / sessions?

If you know in advance that there is a conflict, we can work around it. Please include this in your application.

What if I’m an undergrad researcher?

Sorry, you’re ineligible for this program at this time. We might expand the scope in the future.

Are there certain technology areas that are of interest to The Engine?

We cast a broad net and are open to all scientific and engineering breakthroughs. Areas The Engine has already invested in include: advanced materials, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, energy, food and agriculture, life sciences, robotics, space, quantum and next generation computing, and semiconductors. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we are constantly learning from researchers like you about new areas that are impactful.

What if I decide if a startup is not right for me after the program?

That is OK. Go forth and keep innovating!