UConn has joined the National Academy of Inventors’ (NAI) Global Academic Inventor Network (GAIN), an international mentoring platform exclusively for academic inventors.
“UConn is committed to empowering our faculty and students to capitalize on innovative university research by developing new technologies and products, and entering into economic partnerships with public and private entities,” says Radenka Maric, vice president for research and UConn’s member representative to NAI. “This expansion of the NAI provides even greater opportunity to identify global partners, move technologies developed in UConn labs closer to market, and bolster the University’s strong history of innovation.”
UConn is among the NAI Chapters who will receive exclusive priority access to join GAIN. Following the initial launch stage, the NAI will open the platform to the entire NAI community.
The UConn NAI chapter was established in September 2017 as a result of the efforts and prodigious invention history of three distinguished researchers who are NAI Fellows. To receive this distinction from NAI, a researcher must be named inventor on patent(s) issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and must be affiliated with a university, non-profit research institute, or other academic entity.
“UConn has a wonderful history of inventorship and mentorship, and the goals of GAIN are consistent with our UConn NAI Chapter’s goals. We look forward to working with the National Academy of Inventors on this and other new initiatives” says Cato T., Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., president of UConn’s NAI chapter.
Currently UConn is home to four NAI Fellows:
- Cato T. Laurencin, founder and president of the UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors became the first UConn NAI Fellow in 2013. Laurencin is well known for his pioneering work in the field of regenerative engineering and is an elected member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the Connecticut Medal of Technology.
- In 2015, Dr. Pramod K. Srivastava, who is recognized globally for his groundbreaking discoveries in cancer immunotherapy, was named an NAI Fellow.
- Lakshmi Nair, Ph.D., vice president of the UConn Chapter of NAI was inducted in 2016. Her work in regenerative biomaterials to enhance tissue repair and regeneration has resulted in many novel and valuable discoveries.
- Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Steven L. Suib, Ph.D., was inducted in 2017 for his pioneering work in solid state chemistry and the synthesis of novel materials with a strong environmental focus.
“The launch of GAIN by the NAI is timely as a global invention community is essential to drive 21st century innovation,” says Nair.
UConn faculty generate an average of 80 invention disclosures a year, and UConn has been issued over 600 total U.S. patents since tracking began. An average of 15 agreements aimed at commercializing UConn technologies are executed annually. The UConn Chapter of the NAI supports these activities through educational and networking events. For instance, on November 19, 2018, the Chapter is hosting Drew Hirschfeld, Commissioner for Patents of the USPTO. Faculty, students, and technology professionals are invited to attend and learn more about the patent process.
UConn is a proud member of the NAI, whose mission is to not only recognize a spirit of innovation within the academic community, but to also nurture that spirit among the next generation of inventors.
“It is our hope that this network will ease the process for emerging inventors as they take an initial idea through the entire discovery process, and then licensing and commercializing that technology for the benefit of society,” says Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., president of the NAI.
GAIN will help connect experienced inventors with those seeking guidance on patents and commercialization of new technologies.