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April 8, 2014 > College students unveil technology innovations

College students unveil technology innovations

Submitted By Zakiya Scott

Budding collegiate innovators from across the nation gathered March 20-22, to exhibit their life-changing technologies at Open Minds, a showcase of student invention at the Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley. Hosted by The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and inventions, the event exhibited the biomedical, environmental and transportation innovations of 17 student teams from some of the countryÕs most prestigious universities.

ÒOur goal is to harness the ingenuity of student inventors and help them turn their ideas into innovations with global impact,Ó said Phil Weilerstein, executive director at the NCIIA.

As education undergoes a monumental shift, a growing number of American universities are actively investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs. NCIIAÕs model of early support, mentoring and funding has changed the educational landscape for faculty, students and investors. The organization has trained 500 student teams that have raised more than $300 million to grow and launch 200 new ventures. More than half of these ventures are still in business today, reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve critical social issues.

From malaria diagnosis to administering medication to infants, patient recovery and cancer fighting technology, this yearÕs innovations, nurtured by NCIIA, are transforming lives and bridging the gap between student innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Open Minds showcase is part of OPEN, the NCIIAÕs annual conference on science and technology entrepreneurship in higher education, which brings together students, faculty members, business leaders and investors to share best practices, key lessons and inspiration to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

The 18th annual conference featured acclaimed MacArthur fellow, inventor and founder of Otherlab, Saul Griffith, who keynoted the Sustainable Practice Impact Award ceremony. This yearÕs winner was Burt Swersey of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), a professor and entrepreneur who founded RPIÕs InventorÕs Studio, which has spun out several companies.

The NCIIA catalyzes positive social and environmental impact through invention and technological innovation by providing funding, training and mentoring for university faculty and student innovators.

Support of NCIIA comes from The Lemelson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States. For more information, visit

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