Awards and Criteria

Northeastern NAI Chapter Innovator of the Year Awards

Northeastern faculty and students are at Northeastern because they are fired by the desire to innovate. Discovering solutions to problems that threaten well-being are of primary concern, and this motivation pulses through the community.

Northeastern’s National Academy of Inventors (NAI) chapter recognizes this vibrant ingenuity by offering awards that celebrate the notable contributions in inventorship, spotlighting their achievements to inspire us all.

NAI Logo


Northeastern NAI Innovator of the Year awardees also give back to the community by cultivating a spirit of innovation.

They actively teach, mentor, and motivate others how to think disruptively and to solve pointedly.

Winners of this distinguished accolade each receive $1000 to empower their continued inventiveness and will be announced at the Northeastern NAI Chapter Annual Meeting.

NAI Logo




  • Are a current member of the tenure/tenure track research or clinical faculty
    at Northeastern.
  • Have 1 or more patents filed or issued.
  • Demonstrate novel and impactful innovation within the past 3 years.
  • Exhibit active leadership among Northeastern’s community of innovation.

Nomination Process

  • Nominations are conducted by the Center for Research Innovation and presented
    to a panel comprised of university leaders for review and final selection.
  • Nominees are notified by email and the Awardee is announced during the
    Chapter’s annual meeting.
  • The nomination process is governed by principles of diversity, equity, and
  • Are enrolled in a program of study at Northeastern and have completed a minimum of one year of coursework (or graduated from Northeastern program within the last year).
    Demonstrate novel and impactful innovation within the past year, examples include:
    • Making, or contributing to, a discovery leading to a patent (filed or issued)
    • Authoring, or contributing to, a research paper accepted for publication by a peer reviewed journal
    • Presenting/postering at a noteworthy conference
  • Exhibit active leadership among Northeastern’s community of innovation.

Nomination Process

  • Nominations are initiated by Northeastern leaders, faculty, and staff (e.g., Deans, department chairs, advisors, senior faculty, research supervisors, etc.). Students may not self-nominate.


    Nominations are evaluated upon the following criteria:


    The degree of novelty demonstrated by the innovation

    • Is the innovation obvious or does it represent true advancement of understanding and practice. How original and unique is the discovery?

    The magnitude and scope of the innovation’s impact

    • Is the innovation incremental or disruptive? Does it address fundamental problems fundamentally or does it refine and improve current practice? Does the impact reach beyond the theoretical and have practical environmental, social, and/or economic benefit? Does the impact span multiple fields of knowledge and practice?
    Record and Promise of Inventiveness

    The possession of mindset and practices of innovation

    • Is there evidence that the nominee cultivates a mindset that encourages innovation? Does the nominee practice techniques that promote discovery and novel solutions? Does the nominee have a record of inventiveness (multiple patents, papers, presentations) or display signs of future promise?

    Community Engagement

    The level of leadership, collaboration, and participation demonstrated within the
    community of innovation

    • Is there evidence of the nominee being a catalyst of innovation within the community? Does the nominee actively lead, teach, mentor, and coach others in the ways of innovative thinking? Does the nominee seek out collaborative engagement with colleagues and/or industry? Does the nominee inspire, encourage, and empower innovation in others?