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Office of the Vice President for Research

Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Granting Organization: 
National Academy of Inventors
Submission Deadline: 
Friday, July 31, 2020
Program Descripton: 

The NAI Fellows Program was established to highlight academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.

The NAI Fellow program has 1,228 Fellows worldwide representing more than 250 prestigious universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. Collectively, the Fellows hold more than 38,000 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies, 2,300 companies and created more than 19.5 million jobs. In addition, over $2.2 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries.

Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow status have been nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Fellow nominees must be a named inventor on patent(s) issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and affiliated with a university, non-profit research institute or other academic entity to qualify.

The nomination are reviewed by the NAI Fellows Advisory Committee and Selection Committee. The number of Fellows elected each year is dependent on the quality of the nominations submitted. Committee members may not vote on a nominee from their institution. Decisions of the Selection Committee are final. If a nominee is not elected to Fellow status, he or she will remain on record for committee review for three consecutive years.

Nominations must be submitted prior to July 31 at midnight. Nominees will be notified if they have been elected to Fellow status in December of each year. Nominators will be notified if their nominee has not been elected, but their nominee will not be notified directly.

An induction ceremony for newly elected NAI Fellows will be held at the Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors each year. New Fellows and their nominators are cordially invited to attend the conference (at the special discounted member rate). At the ceremony, the new Fellows will receive their rosette, medal and trophy, along with their NAI lapel pin and member certificate.

  • Nominees should have made outstanding contributions to innovation in areas of such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation
  • Nominees must be a named inventor on patent(s) issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. (The median patent count among current NAI Fellows is 20.)
  • Nominees should have reached professional maturity and be recognized as pioneers in their field
  • Nominees must be affiliated with an academic organization, e.g., university, college, non-profit research institute, or government agency
  • Nominees do not have to be current members of, nor affiliated with a Member Institution of the National Academy of Inventors (although recommended)
  • All U.S. and non-U.S. citizens are qualified for nomination
  • Deceased nominees are not eligible
  • Self-nomination, team submissions and nominations submitted by relatives are not eligible
  • Nominations do not have to be submitted by an individual affiliated with an NAI Member Institution (although recommended)
Application Process: 


  • Nominee’s contact information
  • Citation in 200 words or less listing contributions, honors and awards

    (Full Name), (Suffix) is (enter current position title) at (enter institution name). (Last Name) is (enter important contributions to invention and innovation, field of research, area of leadership, etc.). He/she is the recipient of (name prestigious prizes, honors and awards). He/she holds (number) U.S. patents and (number) foreign patents that have been licensed to (number) companies. He/she is the founder of (startup companies). He/she has published (enter number of articles, books, book chapters) and serves as (editor-in-chief, editor, editorial board, etc.) for (peer-reviewed journals, etc.). (Last name) is a (member/Fellow) of (prestigious organizations such as National Academies, AAAS Fellow, etc.).

  • Summary in 200 words or less of patents, licensing and commercialization activities

    (Name, Suffix) holds (number) patents in the field of (name field/industry), (number) of which have been licensed. His/her most significant patents are (patent name(s)/number(s)/short description of patent(s) and significance). (Last name) has licensed his/her patent(s) to (company/government name(s)). (Name of patent and number) was licensed to (company/government), as well as (list all other licensed patents). (Last name) is involved in (industry name). He/she has started (number) of companies, and was instrumental in the commercialization of (product, technology, etc.).

  • Statement of impact on public welfare in 200 words or less

    Please describe in three to four sentences the nominees impact through his or her inventions on the public welfare and overall economic impact. This section should include how many jobs have been created, lives touched and/or significant contributions to the advancement of science.


  • Nominee’s full CV
  • Letter of nomination (on letterhead, signed and scanned) from the Nominator containing evidence of the nominee’s outstanding contribution to / achievements in innovation, describing the nominee’s work and why he or she should be elected as a NAI Fellow. No more than two (2) pages.
  • Full List of U.S. patents
  • Optional: Nominee’s biography
  • Optional: Letter(s) of support (MAX: 3)

It is the Nominator’s responsibility to ensure all materials are submitted by the deadline. Nominations missing any documentation or submitted after the deadline will not be considered. No exceptions will be made.