NMTI nominations open until May 20; instructional webinar March 9

How long has America been celebrating inventive greatness by awarding the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (NMTI)? As long as Inventors Digest has been part of that same celebration.

The NMTI was first awarded in 1985—the same year this magazine made its debut as a newsletter—with 13 laureates in the inaugural class that included AT&T Bell Laboratories.

The NMTI is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, presented in person by the president of the United States. It is awarded to individuals, teams (up to four people), companies or divisions of companies for outstanding contributions to America’s economic, environmental and social well-being.

You can play a part in that process.

The nomination period for NMTI laureates is open until May 20; the USPTO will host a webinar on March 9 to provide information on the process. Nominations of candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged.

Past winners include:

  • Helen Edwards, the award’s first female recipient in 1989. She oversaw construction of the Tevatron particle accelerator, designed to probe the fundamental properties of matter. The Tevatron allowed experiments that could previously only be theorized. It was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world for 25 years.
  • Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. She was awarded the NMTI in 1991 for pioneering accomplishments in the development of computer programming languages, which simplified computer technology and led to a significantly larger universe of users.
  • Nancy W.Y. Ho, awarded the NMTI in 2013. She oversaw development of a yeast-based technology that co-ferments sugars extracted from plants to produce ethanol, and for optimizing this technology for large-scale and cost-effective production of renewable biofuels and industrial chemicals.
  • Frances Arnold received the 2011 NMTI for “pioneering research on biofuels and chemicals that could lead to the replacement of pollution-generating materials.” She specializes in creating proteins that have the potential for uses in medicine and clean energy.

For more information: uspto.gov/nmti