It's been a little over a week since the end of the Annual NCIIA (National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance) Conference last week in San Francisco. As major funders of NCIIA, it's always great to travel to the conference (which seems to alternate coasts each year) and see all the exciting work the next generation of innovators are doing, as well as reconnect with educators and others exploring the science, business and practice of technology innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education.
There's been a lot of process after the event, which culminated in the acclaimed March Madness for the Mind, the annual showcase of innovations from the NCIIA's top E-Teams. 16 student E-Teams from NCIIA member colleges and one Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam from a high school in Laveen, Arizona demonstrated their innovations in a free exhibition at San Francisco's famous Exploratorium.
As part of this year's March Madness showcase, each of the E-Teams submitted a short video to conference sponsor Inventors Digest, with people from all over the world voting on their favorite video for a $200 prize. The winning video was from the OsmoPure team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. OsmoPure is a low-cost water purification device for developing countries based on simple membrane filtration technology. To produce potable water, the user fills a plastic bottle with dirty water, screws on the purifier like you would screw on a cap and squeezes the bottle to dispense clean water.
Speaking of videos, we've added to our YouTube channel a talk that our Executive Director Julia Novy-Hildesley gave at NCIIA (part 1, part 2), as well as an insightful speech by Dorothy Lemelson, President and Board Chair of The Foundation, on the history of the E-Teams and the creation of the NCIIA by Jerome Lemelson in the mid-90's to diversify and stimulate invention and innovation in the U.S.
In addition to the videos, the Annual NCIIA Conference spawned a number of press hits for the organization, the E-Teams and The Lemelson Foundation:
- WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio-NPR Affiliate, "Human Powered Nebulizer" (March 25, 2010) – In this radio broadcast, the Marquette University E-Team discussed its human powered nebulizer that could help bring much needed medical care to places without electricity.
- NextBillion.net, "Inventors and Innovators – Aligned with the Poor" (March 29, 2010) – This story highlights a few of NCIIA’s March Madness for the Mind’s E-teams.
- NextBillion.net, "Educational Experiences As If Impact is the Intent and Scale Matters" (March 31, 2010) – Interview with Julia Novy-Hildesley on the topic of managing a Foundation with global reach.
About the NCIIA
The NCIIA achieves positive and sustainable social and environmental impact through technological innovation by providing end-to-end service grants, mentoring and other experiential resources to higher education institutions. With support from The Lemelson Foundation, the National Science Foundation and a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States, the NCIIA engages more than 5,000 student entrepreneurs each year, leveraging their respective campuses as working laboratories and incubators for businesses and ultimately helping them to bring their concepts to commercialization. For more information, please visit http://www.nciia.org.