Student Innovation

Honoring Emerging Student Innovators

Submission Period Opens January 2, 2018

Deadline to Submit February 14, 2018

Educating and mentoring students is central to the academic innovation process. The National Academy of Inventors Student Innovation Showcase offers a unique platform for students to demonstrate their world-changing inventions to the highest caliber innovators and the potential opportunity to engage with NAI Fellows as mentors.

Program Overview

The NAI Student Innovation Showcase is designed to feature the inventions of outstanding student teams across all disciplines, and to recognize and strengthen the culture of inventorship for the next generation. Student teams from NAI Member Institutions are invited to submit their inventions. Selected teams will be invited to present their inventions at the 7th Annual Conference of the NAI on April 6, 2018 in Washington, DC.

In addition to the opportunity to showcase and be recognized for their work at this high-level interdisciplinary academic conference, selected student teams will receive the benefit of being matched with an NAI Fellow (an expert in their field) who will provide mentorship in the potential commercialization process of their technology.

NAI members and guests will interact with the emerging student innovators during the final day of the annual conference and engage with those who will have the ability to benefit our society well into the future. One-day Registration for the Student Innovation Showcase is open to the public.

Selected Winning Teams

The six highest ranking submissions will be invited to present at the 7th Annual Conference of the NAI on April 6, 2018 in Washington, DC at the Mayflower Hotel.

The selected student teams will also receive the benefit of being matched with an NAI Fellow, an expert in their field, who will provide mentorship in the potential commercialization process for their technology.

Student teams will be invited to display a poster or exhibit of their invention during the conference session and have the opportunity to network with leading innovators from around the world.

Teams selected to present will receive free registration to the 2018 NAI conference. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.

Application Information

+ Eligibility Requirements

Student teams from NAI Member Institutions are invited to apply for the 2018 Student Innovation Showcase.

Teams must comprise no more than four students. Although students are expected to have a research mentor, the project's entrepreneurial lead must be a student on the team.

Applicants must be currently enrolled undergraduate students, graduate students, or one-year post graduate students. Enrollment criteria is based on the 2017-2018 academic year, as set by their universities.

Student team must have the support of a faculty/staff member from an NAI Member Institution who will submit a written recommendation letter.

A provisional patent must be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the team's invention prior to submitting their application.

Student team must express willingness to take their patented technology to the next-level and to potentially commercialize their product.

+ Required Application Components

Application PDF components include:
  1. Title Page: Include invention name, University name, student member names (1 page maximum)
  2. Executive Summary: Brief overview of team, invention, and potential impact (1 page maximum)
  3. Narrative: (5 page maximum)
    • Include description of the invention, the market/industry need, the potential economic, environmental and societal benefits, potential for commercialization.
    • Outline of each teammates' contributions and the level of participation from the students compared to the faculty researcher.
    • Provisional/Issued Patent Number: A provisional or issued patent is required prior to presentation.
    • Documentation of design to provide sufficient detail of the invention.
  4. Faculty/Staff Letter of Support: One letter of recommendation from faculty or research staff member supporting the significance and potential impact of students' work. Faculty letter must also include an affirmation that the project is the students' original work.
  5. Team Member Resumes: Include student resumes and graduation/expected graduation date for each student (3 page max per student).
  6. Appendix - Optional Components: Additional letters of support, product videos or images embedded as hyperlinks, other relevant supporting materials.

+ Submission Process

For consideration to present at the 2018 Student Innovation Showcase, required application components must be combined into a single PDF, formatted in 11 point, Arial font, with one-inch margins, and emailed to

Submission period opens January 2, 2018. Applications must be received no later than 11:59 PM EST February 14, 2018.

+ Timeline

  • January 2, 2018 - Submission period opens
  • February 14, 2018 - Submission deadline
  • March 3, 2018 - Teams selected to present notified
  • April 7, 2018 - Selected teams present at NAI Annual Conference in Washington, DC

Selection Criteria

A diverse group of judges from the current NAI Fellows will select the six highest ranking submissions. The criterion for evaluation is:

View the 2017 NAI Student Innovation Showcase Finalist Presentations

Questions? Email or call 813-974-6414 for more information.

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. Our mission is to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the USPTO, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.