Lemelson Foundation Awards $24M in Grants to Promote Invention

Social InnovationThe Lemelson Foundation has extended financial support to the Lemelson-MIT Program and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) to promote inventions with an aim to stimulate the economy. The Foundation has announced $24 million in grants to the two organizations to educate and motivate the next generation of inventors and innovators.

Both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) will each receive more than $12 million distributed over a period of four years to finance their inventive efforts.

The Lemelson-MIT Program recognizes exceptionally talented inventors and inspires youth to pursue creative careers through invention. The current grant will help continue the $0.5 million Lemelson-MIT Prize that honors exceptional mid-career inventors. With recognition from the program, these prize winners also serve as role models for the next generation of inventors and innovators.

Joshua Schuler, Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program, said “Engaging young people in creative thinking, problem-solving and hands-on learning in STEM is essential to inspire students to pursue the inventive careers that the US economy needs. The InvenTeams experience encourages collaboration among students, and professionals from industry and academia to understand not just the technological requirements for their inventions, but how to design technologies that serve the user’s needs, often with the users themselves.”

The NCIIA was established in 1995 with the Lemelson Foundation’s support. It helps create a meaningful social and environmental impact through technological inventions and innovation by facilitating funds, mentoring and training for the student innovators and university teachers. NCIIA has a membership of about 200 universities and colleges, and engages more than 5,000 student entrepreneurs every year.

Phil Weilerstein, Executive Director of the NCIIA, said: “Over the years, we’ve seen that student inventors are capable of creating compelling solutions to address the challenges we face in the modern world. We’re harnessing the creativity of young inventors and helping them move their technologies from idea to reality. Supporting the expansion of robust innovation ecosystems and learning opportunities in higher education are critical to generating career opportunities for emerging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduate students, commercialization returns for universities, and economic growth for the U.S. economy.”

Photo Credit: duchessa

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