Volume 22, Number 4, December 2023

Defining the Future: Inventing for Tomorrow

Technology and Innovation, edited and published by the National Academy of Inventors, is a forum for presenting information encompassing the entire field of applied sciences, with a focus on transformative technology and academic innovation. Regular features of T&I include commentaries contributed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in-depth profiles of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors in every issue.

Recent Articles

Inventing for Tomorrow: The State of the National Academy of Inventors 

At the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), “Defining the Future: Inventing for Tomorrow,” NAI President Paul R. Sanberg highlighted the year’s advancements, including a diversity initiative with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, updates on existing programs, and the introduction of the new Sentinel Award.

Scientific Discoveries and Technological Innovation are Nobody’s Intellectual Property 

George P. Smith posits that scientific progress and technological advancements result from global collaboration, where investigators share ideas and resources. While individual contributions are important, true creativity and innovation occur when these ideas are shared with the broader community. He goes on to argue that excessive reliance on government-enforced patent monopolies, instead of direct public spending, can disrupt scientific communities, hinder creativity, raise prices, increase wealth inequality, and distort market incentives, particularly concerning essential sectors like pharmaceuticals, which are a public good and crucial for economic and social justice.

Innovation Bootcamp—A Flexible Framework Matching Cohort Needs with Targeted Training for Improved Representation in Entrepreneurial Programs 

Crystal S. Leach and Karen J.L. Burg focus on The University of Georgia’s Innovation Bootcamp, an intensive entrepreneurship training program, which is aimed at increasing the participation of under-represented groups in the existing innovation ecosystem, with the ultimate goal of diversification. The eight-week program follows a flexible, three-pronged approach that includes foundational commercialization training while tailoring skill-building and community-building elements to the specific needs of the target cohort. The program focuses on providing tailored training and support to enhance the participation and success of under-represented groups in existing entrepreneurship programs without aiming to establish an alternative ecosystem.

The Emergence and Impact of Regional Research University Collaborations: The Rapidly Changing Landscape in University Research and Innovation

R. V. Duncan et al. note that regional universities are experiencing rapid growth in their research impact and overall significance, contributing to positive social change. They highlight collaborations between national laboratories and major research universities, particularly those emphasizing nearby educational institutions, that are expanding state-of-the-art research facilities in previously under-capitalized regions. They also suggest that many regional research universities, including the University of South Florida, are both Carnegie R1 and Minority Serving Institutions, especially R1 and Hispanic Serving Institutions, indicating a potential for increased influence, impact, and prestige in response to shifting demographics in the United States.

Fostering a Culture of Innovation and an Entrepreneurial Spirit at the University of Arizona 

Elizabeth Cantwell recognized that The University of Arizona, as a public R1 university and the state’s designated land-grant institution, has a key role in addressing global challenges through inventive solutions, spanning climate change, disease prevention, planetary defense, and artificial intelligence. To navigate the evolving research landscape effectively, the university advocates for the cultivation and nurturing of a robust entrepreneurial thinking culture. The article positions UArizona’s programmatic strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship as a model for other public R1 universities aiming to meaningfully tackle societal challenges.

Keys to Building an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Campus Ecosystem: Practices to Policies

Gregory P. Crawford explores the keys to building an innovative and entrepreneurial campus ecosystem. As corporations reduce basic research and seek less risky ideas, the demand for innovation in health, energy, technology, and ecology grows. This article suggests that colleges and universities, regardless of classification, can capitalize on this opportunity by developing entrepreneurial ecosystems and outlines the experiences and practices that foster creativity, entrepreneurship, and collaborative efforts, ultimately advancing higher education’s mission to benefit both students and society.

The Next Generation of Innovation

Cengiz S. Ozkan et al. show that to cultivate the next generation of innovators, universities must shift from traditional structures–fostering collaborative partnerships and reimagining curriculum delivery. The article explores forward-looking strategies, emphasizing best practices for entrepreneurial leaders who prioritize social impact, aiming to inform educational approaches that empower diverse and inclusive participation, helping students navigate and overcome longstanding risks and barriers.

The Intersections of Innovation

Mihrimah Ozkan et al. argue that unlocking the potential of creativity and innovation requires active engagement across the entire innovation ecosystem, fostering collaborative spaces among administration, faculty, students, and industry. The discussion emphasizes the pillars of innovation, underscores the critical role of faculty and technology transfer offices, and acknowledges the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice for creating sustainable and impactful innovations.

United States Patent and Trademark Office: Address to the 2022 Fellows of the  National Academy of Inventors

In her address to this year’s National Academy of Inventors Fellows, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Kathi Vidal praised the accomplishments of the NAI for its crucial role in promoting inventions and innovation. She also highlighted the significant contributions of the NAI Fellows, including 42,000 patents, $3 trillion in economic output, and an emphasis on diversity and expressed gratitude for those efforts on behalf of the USPTO, Secretary of Commerce, and President Biden.