Northeastern’s NAI Chapter created to expand and deepen the University’s global innovation impact

Feb 9, 2023 | CRI, Events

Here at Northeastern, we pride ourselves on being a world-class research institution that fosters bold new discoveries that change the world—not just in theory, but in practice. Fueled by entrepreneurship to translate technology and drive the local economy, our students, faculty, and staff have their names on a long list of inventions.

Today, approximately 800 students, staff, and faculty are inventors on current-use patents, with 794 currently active patents in 22 countries. Northeastern has been recognized as one of the top 100 universities worldwide granted U.S. patents for the past seven years. Furthermore, several faculty members have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) — the highest honor awarded to academic inventors.

To help extend and deepen this streak of innovation and invention, Northeastern’s Center for Research Innovation (CRI) is excited to announce the creation of Northeastern’s very own NAI chapter. As Northeastern is an increasingly international campus with a growing global reach, the NAI chapter is the next step in expanding the innovation beyond the Boston campus. Now, Northeastern joins the NAI’s worldwide network of 46 active chapters with over 2,500 individual members.

The chapter held a successful kick-off event on January 26, 2023, and is currently welcoming new members from across the University.

Northeastern NAI Chapter kick-off event

The Northeastern NAI Chapter’s kick-off event included opening remarks from Jennifer Boyle-Lynch, Executive Director of the CRI and Co-Chair of the Executive Committee for the NAI Northeastern Chapter.

“World-changing ideas like developing cures of rare diseases or eliminating global food waste are easy to conceptualize but often hard to do in practice,” says Boyle-Lynch. “However, through this new Northeastern NAI Chapter, we now have the ability to extend the work of the CRI and further our commitment to technology commercialization—moving these world-changing ideas from the lab into the market.”

NORTHEASTER NAI David MadiganThe kick-off event also included opening remarks from David Madigan, Northeastern University Provost, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the NAI Northeastern Chapter Program Champion.

“To have meaningful impact and solve real problems in the world, academic disciplines need to work together,” says Madigan. “Northeastern’s NAI Chapter is all about cross-disciplinary collaboration, real-world engagement, and leveraging the global university system to work together for actionable solutions.”

NORTHEASTER NAI Vince HarrisThe event also included an overview of how Northeastern’s research and innovation ecosystem has evolved over the years, given by Vincent Harris, University Distinguished Professor, William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor, NAI Fellow, and Co-Chair of the Executive Committee for the NAI Northeastern Chapter.

“When I was at Northeastern in the early 2000s, the College of Engineering was not ranked in the top 100 research universities. Today, we are on the cusp of breaking into the top 30,” said Harris. “That amount of growth in 20 years is tremendously exciting and rewarding.”

There was an induction ceremony given by David Luzzi, NAI Fellow, NAI Northeastern Chapter Advisory Board Chair, Senior Vice Provost for Research, and Vice President of the Innovation Campus at Burlington, MA, and Richard Maulsby, Senior Advisor of the NAI.

The induction ceremony was followed by a fireside chat, given by some of the chapter’s first industry guests: Danielle Curcio, Corporate Vice President of Engineering at Raytheon Technologies and Joseph Preiss, Technical Director of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. Curcio and Preiss discussed how their goals align with the University’s and how they are driven to continuously innovate and solve today and tomorrow’s problems. They also spoke to what they look for in new hires, including intelligent risk-taking in innovation.NORTHEASTER NAI Raytheon

“If you always get 100 on the test, you are only confirming what you already know,” said Preiss. “To grow and expand, you actually have to change that mindset and be able to intelligently take risks and even fail. Northeastern graduates often have that innovator’s mindset that helps us find new solutions to world problems.”

The evening ended with closing remarks from David Luzzi.

“I want to reiterate our commitment to support faculty, staff, and students in their activities of inventorship and innovation,” said Luzzi. “We have ambitions to not only invent and innovate, but to also innovate how we innovate—and the new NAI Chapter is an exciting part of this.”

How to get involved with the Northeastern NAI Chapter

The new NAI chapter will serve as a vehicle to nurture research innovation and entrepreneurship across the global network. Northeastern’s NAI chapter will provide support for researchers and inventors by promoting their work and encouraging connections. The chapter will help members network, collaborate, and create mentor relationships with other students and faculty. The NAI chapter will also create additional entrepreneurial and commercialization opportunities by engaging new commercial partners. Additionally, it will offer a bridge for members to connect with members at peer universities.

NORTHEASTER NAIThe chapter will recognize and celebrate inventors and entrepreneurs both individually and as part of the community. The chapter will also host events and provide resources to educate and inspire the next generation, promote industry collaboration, and amplify messaging about research accomplishments.

Future events such as workshops, annual recognition events, networking events, quarterly meetings with inspirational speakers from industry, and seminars on IP creation, management, and protection will be held by the Northeastern NAI chapter. The overall goal is to bring like-minded innovators of all levels of experience together to share ideas, resources, and knowledge. The chapter will also provide opportunities for professional growth as senior members and potentially NAI fellows.

“Ultimately, Northeastern’s NAI Chapter belongs you — the members of the research and innovation community—present and future,” says Boyle-Lynch. “Together, we will create a legacy that can change the world.”

We need everyone’s ideas to make this chapter great. We encourage everyone to get involved!

How can you get involved? You can apply to be a member, serve as a board or committee member, or simply come to support and celebrate our events. Visit our website for more info on the Northeastern NAI chapter and stay tuned for future updates.

More about the CRI

The CRI embodies Northeastern’s commitment to technology commercialization. Every invention at Northeastern goes through the CRI office. That is why the CRI is proud to be spearheading the Northeastern NAI chapter.

At the CRI, we work together with the global university network to translate research into meaningful global impact. Our mission is to take the cutting edge use-inspired technologies disclosed to our office and move them from the lab into the market. We do this by protecting intellectual property through patents, accelerating early-stage research, and licensing technologies to industry and spin-out companies. With an expansive patent portfolio, new industry partners, over 80 spin-outs in our pipeline, and 77 patents issued just last year, there is ample opportunity for all.

Written by Elizabeth Creason