Global Academic Inventors Network

Connecting Today’s Experts with Tomorrow’s Innovators

Established in 2018, the Global Academic Inventors Network (GAIN) was created to connect seasoned academic inventors with collegiate innovators for the purpose of mentorship. In collaboration with our technology specialists at FirstHand, the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) is proud to share this networking and mentorship platform as a benefit afforded exclusively to NAI member institutions. Your participation is a direct investment in the future generation of innovation and commitment to the creation of a better world for all.


How it Works

Through NAI’s partnership with FirstHand, we are able to provide our members with a platform that makes connecting simple and safe. Once you sign up as a mentor or mentee, you will fill out a profile consisting of your academic background, career interests, and professional goals. We encourage you to fill out your profile to the best of your ability, because the information you provide will determine your mentor or mentee matches. You will also have the option to connect your LinkedIn account to your mentor or mentee profile. Using a powerful matching algorithm, FirstHand pairs aspiring innovators with their best matches for a mentor. As a mentee, you can review your matches and request consultations with the experts you find the most relevant to your goals.

When a consultation is requested by a mentee with suggested times, the mentor will have two days to respond. Once the consultation is scheduled and confirmed, the mentor and mentee will be provided with a secure dial-in number for the meeting. At any time before or after the meeting, you can talk with one another via the platform’s chat box feature. The calendar synchronization and digital meeting rooms protect the privacy of both parties while still allowing connections to be made!

Who can be a mentor?  Any NAI Fellows, Senior Members, or Members of NAI Affiliated Institutions with a US Patent.

Who can be a mentee? Any enrolled student or current faculty/staff employee of an NAI Affiliated Institution.

Unsure if your institution is a member? Search here.

If you don’t see your institution, you can encourage your institution to become an NAI member by filling out our application here.




Become a Mentee: Get Advice from Seasoned Academic Inventors

Using your .edu email, you can register today to become a mentee on a platform designed to help you succeed. As a mentee, you can have multiple consultations with one person, or speak with multiple mentors with a variety of experience and skill sets. You will have the opportunity to gain valuable insight during your consultations on topics such as:

  • Product Design and Development
  • Research
  • Idea Generation
  • Licensing
  • Commercialization
  • IP Protection
  • Patent Filing
  • Start-up Process
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising

GAIN is only available to our member institutions, providing an exclusive opportunity for you to connect and collaborate with experienced academic inventors. Whether you have a pioneering idea that you want guidance on, you need help filing a patent, or you are just curious about the industry of innovation, there is a mentor for you! Your participation could lead to countless opportunities, ideas, innovations, and connections.

The GAIN platform also boasts a vast webinar library on topics ranging from interview advice to entrepreneurship to consulting. This library gives mentees access to a variety of professional development resources at no cost. Your commitment to your professional growth will be celebrated and accelerated through GAIN and NAI aims to enable you to surpass all of your goals while improving the world.

Become a Mentee Today

Become a Mentor: Invest in the Next Generation of Innovation

Think back to yourself as a young visionary with ideas that had yet to come to fruition. Perhaps you yourself had a mentor, or perhaps you navigated the field of innovation alone. Either way, you succeeded and now have a wealth of experience and knowledge that can be shared with the next generation. By investing your time in these early innovators, sharing your expertise, and offering guidance and support, you are advancing the future of invention and discovery in a way that could change the world and enhance the human condition for all. You can give back to the industry that you’ve grown with while simultaneously investing in the planet, society, and the minds of potential inventors across the globe.

By becoming a mentor, you can experience the value of working with students and young innovators around the world, impacting their future in unlimited ways. Academia serves as a catalyst for research and innovation, but it also embodies the rare opportunity for impactful relationship building between established thinkers and young minds ready to be inspired. GAIN harnesses this opportunity in a way that makes it accessible, safe, and easy to use for all.  When we think about the future, those thoughts should be accompanied by feelings of excitement, hope, and possibilities. You have the power to ensure that’s the case.

Become a Mentor Today


If you have any questions regarding GAIN, please contact Richard Maulsby at [email protected].