#NAI2019 Photos Now Available

#NAI2019 Photos and Video Now Online

Photos and video of the NAI’s Eighth Annual Meeting in Houston are now available online.

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NAI 2019 Meeting Recap on Issuu
Nominations for the 2019 Class of NAI Fellows open tomorrow!

Read on for a detailed recap of the NAI’s Eighth Annual Meeting.


April 10, 2019

The first day of the NAI’s Eighth Annual Meeting featured two educational sessions, a keynote luncheon and a networking event titled “Connection and Think Space.” It also saw the official recognition of the Inaugural Class of NAI Senior Members, who were each awarded a challenge coin and a certificate. 

Session A, hosted by Fulgent Genetics and titled Industry, Academia and Government Collaborations explored the questions surrounding collaborative applied research between these three partners. What roles do they each play in the process of applied research? What difficulties do they face on a national scale? These questions were examined by two panels and three individual presentations addressing varying topics such as protecting intellectual property, promoting translational research initiatives and creating a diverse STEM community.

Session B, hosted by Texas A&M University and titled Connecting Disciplines to Explore Innovative Solutions, followed a Keynote Luncheon featuring Maria Oden of Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. This session offered fresh perspectives and unique viewpoints to generate creative solutions to ongoing global issues. Five individual presenters, one panel and one keynote speaker questioned the benefits of interdisciplinary innovation and explored ways to promoted interconnectedness among disciplines. The Connection and Think Space, which followed this session, allowed all attendees to process the discussions of the day and celebrate the NAI’s newest Member Institutions.

Congratulations to the Inaugural Class of NAI Senior Members. 65 inventors were elected to the inaugural class. The NAI was proud to honor those in attendance with challenge coins and certificates of recognition.
“No collaboration is identical. Every technology, every faculty member, every collaboration has different needs and different resources brought to the table. A common theme here is flexibility, and customizing collaborations to the specific needs of the situation.”
– Christine Flynn
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
From the Panel “Formulating Industry-Academic Collaborations that Work:
Best Practices to Ensure a Strong Relationship after the Agreements are Signed.”

Keynote Luncheon
Hosted by The Lemelson Foundation
Thanks to Maria Oden for an incredible Keynote Address. 10 years ago, she traveled to sub-Saharan Africa to identify real world problems for her students to tackle. In her keynote, she told the story of how those efforts made a difference. At the end of her presentation, Oden was recognized as an Honorary Member of the NAI.

“We end up calling people women entrepreneurs, or minority entrepreneurs, and what does that mean? They’re not REAL entrepreneurs. The language we use has an impact on who belongs.”
– Nathalie Duval-Couetil
Purdue University

“Climate and culture is key. Women should feel welcome and encourged and supported and nudged the way you all have been.”
– Tom Rudin
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine

Quotes from the Panel “Building Equality, and Inclusion in the Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pipeline”


April 11, 2019

The second day of #NAI2019 kicked off with a private breakfast for all new NAI Fellows and a networking breakfast for all other attendees. Session C, hosted by Louisiana State University and titled Insights for Future Innovation, featured two panels, three individual presentations and Keynote Address. From ways to inspire young girls to pursue careers in invention to involving minorities in the commercialization process, each presenter explored how the innovation community should and will take the next steps forward. Following a Keynote Luncheon featuring Ellen Ochoa, the meeting moved to Space Center Houston for the Fellows Induction Ceremony and NAI Signature Gala.

Keynote Address
Steven Sasson, inventor of the digital camera, kicked off Session C with a Keynote Address. 

“You have to instill curiosity in things. It requires you to lead others and take a chance.”

Tyrone Grandison of ByteCubed asked the audience to raise their hands if they considered themselves inventors. He then asked the audience to keep their hands raised if they had at least one black or brown mentee.
“We need to give them opportunities and access to places where they can have an impact and be seen.”

From the Panel “Harnessing ALL Available Talent to Invent a Better World: Perspective from the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors.”

Keynote Luncheon
Hosted by The University of Texas at Arlington
In her keynote address, Ellen Ochoa explored how NASA’s informal motto “Failure is Not an Option” can combine with the seemingly contradictory idea that failure is an integral part of innovation. Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she flew on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She also served as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center from 2013 to 2018.

Fellows Induction Ceremony
The 2019 Fellows Induction Ceremony took place at Space Center Houston in the Space Center Theater. 125 Fellows were inducted by President Paul R. Sanberg, who began the ceremony with his annual State of the Academy. The State of the Academy presented a review of the NAI’s activities over the past year, as well as goals for 2019.

Ed Schons, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor, introduced keynote speaker Drew Hirshfeld, U.S. Commissioner for Patents for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Hirshfeld highlighted the accomplishments of this year’s inductees and gave updates on how the USPTO is working to further innovation on a national level. 

NAI Signature Gala
The Induction Ceremony was followed by the NAI Signature Gala, held in the Astronaut Gallery at Space Center Houston. The Gala featured performances by musicians of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra and small presentations by NAI President Paul R. Sanberg and veteran astronaut Ellen Ochoa.

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