The Lemelson-MIT Program has announced the 2023-24 InvenTeams, eight teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors from across the country who each will receive $7,500 in grant funding and other support to build a technological invention to solve a problem of their own choosing. The students’ inventions are inspired by real-world problems they identified in their local communities.
Meet the 2023–24 InvenTeams
The InvenTeams were selected by a panel consisting of university professors, inventors, entrepreneurs, industry professionals, and college students. Some panel members were former InvenTeam members now working in industry, or are in college. The InvenTeams are focusing on problems facing their local communities, with a goal that their inventions will have a positive impact on beneficiaries and, ultimately, improve the lives of others beyond their communities. This year’s teams are:
- e3 Civic High of San Diego, California;
- Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School of Cold Spring Harbor, New York;
- Calistoga Junior/Senior High School of Calistoga, California;
- EMUiNVENT of Ypsilanti, Michigan;
- Incline High School of Incline Village, Nevada;
- Cincinnati Country Day School of Cincinnati, Ohio;
- Chattahoochee High School of Johns Creek, Georgia; and
- Amherst Regional High School of Amherst, Massachusetts.
The 2023–24 InvenTeams are comprised of students, teachers, and community mentors who pursue year-long invention projects involving creative thinking, problem-solving, and hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The InvenTeams’ prototype inventions will be showcased at a technical review within their home communities in February 2024, and then again as a final prototype at EurekaFest — an invention celebration taking place June 10-12, 2024, at MIT.
“The InvenTeams are focusing on solving problems that impact their local communities,” says Leigh Estabrooks, Lemelson-MIT’s invention education officer. “Teams are focusing their technological solutions — their inventions — on inequities in health and well-being, environmental issues, and safety concerns. These high school students are not just problem-solvers of tomorrow, they are problem solvers today, helping to make our world more equitable, healthier, and safer.”
Celebrating 20 years of the InvenTeams Grant Initiative
The InvenTeams initiative, now in its 20th year, has enabled 17 teams of high school students to earn U.S. patents for their projects. Intellectual property education is combined with invention education offerings as part of the Lemelson-MIT Program’s deliberate efforts to remedy historic inequities among those who develop inventions, protect their intellectual property, and commercialize their creations. The program’s ongoing efforts empower students from all backgrounds, equipping them with invaluable problem-solving skills that will serve them well throughout their academic journeys, professional pursuits, and personal lives. Their work with 3,883 students across 296 different teams nationwide over the past 20 years includes:
- partnering with intellectual property law firms to provide pro bono legal support;
- collaborating with industry-leading companies that provide technical guidance and mentoring;
- providing professional development for teachers on invention education;
- assisting teams with identifying resources within their communities’ innovation ecosystems to support ongoing invention efforts; and
- publishing case studies and research to inform the work of invention educators and policymakers and build support for engaging students in efforts to invent solutions to real-world problems.
The Lemelson-MIT Program is a national leader in efforts to prepare the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs. Their work focuses on the expansion of opportunities for people to learn ways inventors find and solve problems that matter to improve lives. Its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion aims to remedy historic inequities among those who develop inventions, protect their intellectual property, and commercialize their creations.
Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at MIT in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering.