Ana Escalante

The 100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability

Lemelson MITGreat inventions have changed our lives and the world dramatically throughout history. For instance, my Mayan ancestors from the Yucatan invented the cero (a.k.a. the zero). Of course there are more mainstream inventions: the light bulb, the telephone, the Internet (thanks, Al Gore) – the list goes on forever.

The need for new invention remains. The world today needs inventors to create sustainable social change while protecting and restoring the environment. There’s an amazing opportunity to innovate and create something new: a product or a process that will improve the quality of life for the generations to come in a sustainable way.The $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability ?serves to increase awareness of local or global sustainability issues and inventors working in these critical areas, and also supports continued inventive work of these individuals.?

Rob blogged last year about Dr. Amy Smith on NextBillion; she won this competition in 2000 with a series of designs focusing mainly on BOP needs.

To participate in this competition you must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or foreign national currently working legally in the United States. The inventors must have “created a product, process or material; made a technology more affordable; redesigned a system; or otherwise demonstrated remarkable technological inventiveness in addressing local or global sustainability in the United States and/or abroad.”

The inventors need to provide proof of practical use for their product or process, and it must improve “the quality of air, water or soil; or pertain to health, energy, agriculture, shelter, biodiversity or ecosystem management.” The nominated individuals must be a source of inspiration to youth either by mentoring, by outreach or by their creativity.

Candidates may be individuals or two collaborating inventors, and they must be nominated by one of their peers. U.S. patents are not required, but are desirable for this award. Winners will be invited and encouraged to participate in Lemelson-MIT Program activities, including youth outreach opportunities to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers.

Click here to lean more about the Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability.

NextBillion encourages our readers that have an invention or know someone that does to participate in this competition. The world needs creative, driven, talented people that will breed this generation’s inventions, and if these inventions lead us to a sustainable future, then even more so. It’s up to all of us!