About the Program

Why did the NAI create this program?

  • The National Academy of Inventors saw a need to identify and recognize early-stage innovators and inventors whose patents have the potential to bring real impact on society; we want to open up the innovative ecosystem to commemorate more inventors.

What is the difference between NAI Fellows and NAI Senior Members?

  • Career Tenure: Senior Membership is for individuals (often Professors, Associate Professors, Researchers, and Deans) who have the potential to bring impact on the welfare of society. They are recognized in their field as rising leaders, whose work has gained momentum toward significant achievement in innovation. NAI Fellows have made outstanding, tangible contributions to their community through technology and innovation; they are pioneers in their field and have often reached professional maturity.
  • NAI Member Institution Affiliation: Senior Members are required to be affiliated with an NAI Member Institution. This is not a requirement for NAI Fellows.

Is the Senior Member program a way for inventors to receive recognition other than that of NAI Fellows?

  • It is important to note that the NAI Fellows program and the NAI Senior Members program are two separate and very different distinctions. In both the eligibility requirements, benefits, and dues structure, both programs are a way for inventors to be recognized either at the pinnacle of one’s career (Fellows) or in the early-stages of innovation (Senior Members). *Current NAI Fellows are not eligible for Senior Membership consideration.

In the future, will Fellows nominees be expected to have been Senior Members first?

  • It is not a requirement that NAI Fellows nominees should be Senior Members first. Many Fellows will be elected without having been a Senior Member, and some Senior Members may eventually become Fellows. It is important to review the eligibility requirements for each program and select which program your nominee most reflects. Once elected as an NAI Senior Member, you will not be eligible for NAI Fellowship during the next Fellows cycle. For example, those nominated in Fall 2022/Elected Senior Member February 2023 would not be eligible for the Spring 2023 Fellow nomination cycle.

Is there an advantage to submitting a nomination earlier in the nomination period rather than later?

  • There is no advantage or disadvantage about the date in the nomination period that the nomination is submitted. All nominations submitted within the same nomination period will be reviewed with the same level of care and attention regardless of completion date/time. All nominations are due at the end of the nomination period no later than 11:59PM EST.


Do nominees need to be members of NAI Chapters?

  • Nominees do not need to be members of NAI Chapters, although this would put the nominee at an advantage for election. Nominees must be affiliated with a Member Institution.

Do the licensing activities need to have taken place in the academic setting, or is commercialization activities in a prior industry sufficient?

  • Licensing activities do not need to take place in the academic setting. The NAI recognizes all licensing and commercialization activities regardless of the environment in which they are put into practice.

Is a patent issued to a company considered licensed?

  • No. A licensing agreement must be signed by all parties for development, sale, or marketplace consumption for a patent to be considered licensed.

What defines “success in commercialization”?

  • During the nomination process, we ask for a Statement of Impact: a few sentences that describe how the nominee’s commercialization efforts have affected public welfare and the overall economic development within his/her community. Use this opportunity to express how you believe the nominee has achieved commercialization success.

Nomination Form

Is there a deadline during the last day of submission?

  • All submissions are due at the end of each nomination period by 11:59PM EST. All nominations submitted after this deadline will be under consideration for the following nomination period.


Are there additional fees involved? What is the benefit to the inventor for their Senior Member dues?

  • The Senior Member dues structure is set at $250 annually. Senior Members are welcomed into our global community of innovators and have access to the platforms available including our new mentorship platform.