Fellows Nomination Process

2024 Fellows nomination will be accepted May 1 – July 31, 2024 then announced in December 2024.

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 nominations 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, and medal 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)



  • 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 and/or engineering or by society.


  • 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.


Internal Review

All nominations submitted by the deadline undergo an internal administrative review to check for completeness of the nomination packet, verify the provided information, and confirm that the nominee is eligible per our required qualifications. This process occurs on a rolling basis as nominations are finalized and submitted. NAI staff may contact the nominator for more information and/or clarification on materials prior to the deadline. Please carefully review the nomination material requirements prior to submitting. An incomplete nomination will not be considered after the deadline. Once all nominations have been reviewed internally, complete nomination packets will be sent for review by the Fellows Advisory Committee.

Fellows Advisory Committee

The Fellows Advisory Committee (FAC) is made up of current NAI Fellows with vast expertise and disciplines. The FAC is determined and selected based on the number of nomination submissions received and the expertise required to evaluate the nominations. The FAC uses the Fellow Evaluation Criteria to assess the nominations and makes recommendations on those that should move forward to the Selection Committee. All FAC members are advised to disclose conflicts of interest prior to evaluating nominations. Any conflicting nominations will be reassigned to another FAC member.

Fellows Selection Committee

The Fellows Selection Committee is comprised of members and senior officials from well-recognized and respected organizations, and are recipients of prestigious honors and awards. The Selection Committee has several standing members, but new members will join the committee as needed. Nominations recommended by the FAC are distributed to the Selection Committee members based on expertise. The Selection Committee also use the Fellows Evaluation Criteria to review the nominations and make recommendations. Decisions of the Selection Committee are final. If a nominee is not elected to Fellow status, packets are kept on file for three total years and he or she may be nominated and selected at a future time.

Fellow Evaluation Criteria*

  1. Impact on Society: Nominee demonstrates 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.
  2. Patents & Licensing: Nominee makes 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.
  3. Career Tenure: Nominee is recognized as a pioneer in his/her field as evidenced by academic appointments, national/international awards and recognition, invited talks, consultations, among others.
  4. Facilitation & Nurturing: Nominee aids in the development and promotion of an institutional culture that provides repeated opportunities for technological achievements and encourages commercial successes at either the institutional, inter-institutional, or government level, as well as provided mentorship in training the next generation of innovators.
  5. Service to the Academy: Nominee provides service through roles such as an NAI member institution representative, member of local NAI chapter, contributor or editorial board member for the NAI Journal Technology & Innovation, direct involvement with GAIN, or other Service Opportunity.

*Please note the committees base their evaluation on the totality of information available, but no single factor is decisive. The Board of Directors reserve the right to make/allow exceptions under extraordinary circumstances.


For nominators, see NAI Fellows Nomination FAQs to learn more.

Are there dues associated with Fellowship?
Yes. Learn More

Why do Fellows have dues?

The Program is supported through the contribution of dues. Dues go directly to the Fellows Program to support the engagement of our Fellows through such activities as providing peer review services for grants, enhanced recognition, involvement in public policy, increased opportunities to publish in the NAI Journal, special symposia, and more.

Thank you for your support of this important initiative as we continue to honor and recognize future generations of the nation’s prolific academic inventors across our nation and around the globe.

Are there discounted dues rates for Fellows who have retired?

First, congratulations on retirement! We appreciate the significant contributions you have made throughout your career. Yes, special rates are available for retirees. Please contact us by submitting a request to [email protected] with the confirmation and date of your retirement.

What is the median patent count for Fellows?

When will Fellows be notified of election?

Are self-nominations accepted?
No. Learn More About Eligibility Requirements

Can a NAI Senior Member be nominated for Fellow?
An elected NAI Senior Member is not eligible for NAI Fellowship during the upcoming nomination cycle (e.g., a 2023 Senior Member would be ineligible for the 2023 Fellow nomination period; however, they can be nominated in 2024). It is important to review the eligibility requirements for each program and select which program your nominee’s achievements most reflect.

Do candidates need to be from an NAI member institution?
This is recommended for priority review but not required.

When does the induction take place?
NAI Annual Meeting in Raleigh, N.C. June 16-18, 2024.

Do Fellows need to be present at the induction ceremony to receive their award?
Elected Fellows are required to attend their induction ceremony within two years of election in order to receive award items. The NAI Board of Directors will review any extenuating circumstances.

Is there a limit to the number of Fellows elected per institution?
No, but historically the Selection Committee has elected 2-4 Fellows per institution in a given year.