View previous award ceremony broadcasts.
All Rensselaer seniors and graduate students are eligible to compete for this award regardless of major.
Eligible candidates of the $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize must:
Your application will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of Rensselaer alumni including scientists, technologists, engineers and entrepreneurs who select the winner.
1. Who established the Lemelson Program?
Jerome H. Lemelson (1923-1997), and his wife, Dorothy, established the Lemelson-MIT Program to recognize and reward outstanding inventors and innovators in the hope of encouraging more young people to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology, and entrepreneurship. The Lemelson-MIT Program also funds the $30,000 Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize and the $30,000 Lemelson-Rennselaer Student Prize, which are administered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, respectively.
2. Who funds the program?
The Lemelson Foundation funds the program, which is administered by MIT.
3. Who can apply for the awards?
All Rensselaer seniors and graduate students can apply for the $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize. The Student Prize is not an engineering prize; students from across the Institute are eligible.
5. May candidates be re-nominated in subsequent years?
Yes, candidates may be re-nominated in subsequent years, if they have not previously won that award.
6. How are the Lemelson-Rensselaer Award winners chosen?
A judging panel comprised of Rensselaer alumni, including scientists, technologists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, chooses the $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize recipient.
7. Does the Lemelson family participate in the selection of the winners?
No, the Lemelson family is the benefactor of the program and does not participate in the selection processes.
8. How will the Lemelson-Rensselaer Award winner be notified?
After final deliberations are made, the winner of the $30,000Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize is notified by telephone from the Lemelson-Rensselaer Program director.
9. When are the Lemelson-Rensselaer Award winners notified?
The Lemelson-Rensselaer Program director notifies the winner of the $30,000Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize in January of the awarding year.
10. When will the Lemelson-Rensselar Award winner be announced?
The winner of the $30,000Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize is announced during a campus ceremony and press conference in February of the awarding year.
11. Are there requirements about how Lemelson-Rensselaer Award monies must be spent?
There are no requirements as to how Lemelson-Rensselaer Award winner must allocate their award monies. The awards are intended to recognize inventors, sustain inventive communities, and inspire youth to invent. The winner will be invited and encouraged to participate in Lemelson-Rensselaer and Lemelson-MIT Program activities, including youth outreach opportunities to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers.
The $30,000 Student Prize is awarded to a Rensselaer senior or graduate student who has created or improved a product or process, applied a technology in a new way, redesigned a system or in other ways demonstrated remarkable inventiveness. Award winners gain invaluable exposure to the science, business and investment communities through national press around this award.
Applicants can be from any major, discipline, or research concentration and will be invited and encouraged to participate in Lemelson-Rensselaer Program activities, including outreach opportunities to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers. All applicants benefit from networking opportunities with each other, the Rensselaer community, and Lemelson-Rensselaer Award Winners.
Only individuals can apply—sorry, no team applications
Submit the following materials in hard-copy (1 unbound and 5 bound copies) with your application, including a video (see below).
- Each file must be in .pdf, .doc, or .ppt format, with .pdf formatting being strongly preferred. Judges are unable to see PowerPoint slide animations or transitions, view video and movie files, or listen to audio files.
- Each file must be under 5mb is size.
- The entire application must be under 25mb in size, excluding the video component.
As a courtesy to the many distinguished individuals who volunteer their time to help make the prize possible, we ask that you strictly observe all of the guidelines for submission. Please note that applications that do not follow the above instructions will be disqualified from consideration. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
- Description of Inventiveness
Describe your portfolio of inventiveness while at Rensselaer in 1000 words or less. Address the following:
- Define the problems/needs and how your invention(s) offers solutions.
- What makes your invention(s) novel?
- How does your invention(s) improve upon prior technology or processes?
- What are the potential economic, environmental and societal benefits of your invention(s)?
- If you have worked in team environments, what was your role in developing key inventions?
- How do you envision your invention(s) being commercialized or possess the potential for adoption?
Produce a short, two-minute video pitch that addresses the impact that one of your inventions will have on the world. Video Guidelines:
- Tailor the video to a youth audience
- Videos need not be professional; use of a flip cam, webcam, etc is permitted
- Videotaping the "environment" of your invention is ideal
- Creativity is encouraged!
- Compressed Quicktime or Windows Media format only
- Size is limited to 100 MB. Videos that exceed this size cannot be accepted.
To submit your video, please deliver a copy on CD to Phylis Federici at email@example.com by December 7, 2012. Videos will be housed privately on a Rensselaer server for viewing by Student Prize Judges and Lemelson-Rensselaer Program staff only.
- Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation from Rensselaer faculty or research-scientist staff are required. Each letter should be addressed to Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize Committee, limited to two pages, and address the following:
- Describe the significance of the applicant's invention(s)/innovation(s) to the field
- State the student's role in developing the invention(s)
- Define the state-of-the-art status in the area of the invention(s)
- Describe potential implications of the student's work
- Supplementary Materials
Other pertinent supporting materials may be provided, such as professional articles, photos, diagrams, and press clippings. The combined length of all supplementary materials may not exceed 10 pages.
Information about candidates presented in the applications may be used to prepare public educational materials, if the candidate is selected as the prize recipient. If you have questions after carefully reviewing all of the instructions, please contact the Lemelson-Rensselaer Program Awards Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.