The National Academy of Inventors is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities; governmental agencies; and non-profit research institutes. Currently, there are over 4,600 individual members, including Fellows, Senior Members, and Chapter Members, affiliated with more than 300 institutions worldwide. The NAI was founded to recognize and encourage inventors with U.S. patents, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and to create wider public understanding of how its members’ inventions benefit society.


NAI recognizes and elects Fellows who have demonstrated 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. There are currently more than 1,700 Fellows of the Academy. NAI Fellow status is nationally recognized as the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors. 

The nomination period is open typically from the beginning of May to the end of July, with elections announced in December. Nominations may be made by members of the National Academy of Inventors. Self-nominations and nominations of relatives are not permitted. Detailed information regarding nomination requirements and the selection process are available at the NAI Nomination process page.


  • 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. Note: UCSB is a member institution)
  • 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)

Additional Information