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Media Advisory 04-13

Inspiring Invention

New report urges effort to foster invention in education, business and government

April 13, 2004

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.


Arlington, VA—According to a report to be released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-based Lemelson-MIT Program, invention requires both ingenuity and a skilled workforce, and the United States must take immediate action to maintain its position as the world invention leader.

Through five National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported workshops, the Lemelson-MIT Program collaborated with many of the nation's leading experts to examine the factors that drive invention. The findings and recommendations from the workshops are presented in the report "INVENTION: Enhancing inventiveness for quality of life, competitiveness and sustainability."

Representatives of the Lemelson-MIT Program will release the report Wednesday, April 21, 2004, at the National Press Club, in the first of several events that will highlight the critical roles of invention and inventiveness in society.

On the evening of April 22, the D.C. Science Writers Association (DCSWA), the Lemelson-MIT Program and NSF will host several renowned inventors in a special panel discussing both the report and the nature of inventiveness. Several of the speakers will showcase their inventions, and all will discuss the factors that drive them to invent. (Seating is limited; please RSVP at For more information on the DCSWA panel discussion, visit:

On April 23, the National Academy of Engineering will host the main event, the Invention Assembly, a day-long conference featuring leading academics, decision makers and business people who have examined the topic of invention from the perspectives of history, cognitive science, education, intellectual property law and sustainable development.

Assembly highlights include remarks and panel participation from NSF's Acting Director, Arden L. Bement, Jr., NSF Deputy Director Joseph Bordogna, National Academy of Engineering President William A. Wulf, MIT President Charles M. Vest and many others. The Assembly will provide a forum for the review and discussion of the report, its recommendations and next steps for policy makers.

At a black-tie ceremony on the evening of April 23, the Lemelson-MIT program will present the winners of this year’s $100,000 Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2004 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention. At $500,000, the Lemelson-MIT Prize is the world's largest, single cash award for invention.


National Press Club Newsmakers Event
featuring best-selling author Lester Thurow and
Lemelson-MIT Program Director Merton C. Flemings
Release of Report: "Invention: Enhancing inventiveness for quality of
life and sustainability"
April 21, 2004, 12:00 PM
National Press Club
Zenger Room
529 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20045

D.C. Science Writers Association Invention Assembly preview and panel
April 22, 2004, 6:30 PM
Rooms 110 and 130
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Va. 22230

2004 Lemelson-MIT Invention Assembly
April 23, 2004, 8:00 AM
National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20418


Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email:
M. Mitchell Waldrop, NSF, (703) 292-7752, email:

Program Contacts
Kristin Joyce, Lemelson-MIT, (617) 258-0632, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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