Application Process

Collegiate Inventors Competition

Find everything you need to know about applying to and eligibility for competing in the Collegiate Inventors Competition. The 2018 CIC will be held November 14-16.

The Application Process

The first step in applying to the Collegiate Inventors Competition is filling out our online application form. Below is a list of items that the application form will include:

  • Your student information
  • An essay including a brief description or abstract of your invention
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor or professional reference
  • A literature/patent search and summary
  • Any relevant supporting or supplemental materials you wish to submit  (Examples: charts, graphs, videos, articles, samples, etc.)

Eligibility Information

  • Any full-time student enrolled in a U.S. college or university is eligible to enter. A full-time student is anyone who had been enrolled full-time between June 2017 and June 2018.
  • In the case of a team, at least one member of the team must be enrolled as a full-time student. The remaining team members must be enrolled as full-time or part-time students. A part-time student is anyone who has been enrolled part-time between June 2017 and June 2018.
  • Non-U.S. citizens are eligible, as long as they are enrolled in a U.S. college or university and can meet the student eligibility status.
  • Entries are ineligible if the invention (1) has already been patented or disclosed by another party/inventor, or (2) you have been issued a patent for the invention more than one year prior to the date of submission to the Competition.
  • For questions about eligibility requirements contact

Tips to Prepare a Compelling Entry

  • Keep your writing clear, and remember it’s essential to articulate what your invention is and why it is an invention. The judges are interested in learning exactly what you are contributing to the ideas and technology in your field. Keep in mind spelling and grammatical errors will affect how your entry is judged.
  • The more concise the better. To achieve the best score possible, cover all requested information, but avoid jargon and unnecessary materials that could detract from your entry.
  • It’s up to you to convince the judges that your entry is the best among the many innovative and imaginative inventions they will see. Remember, while our judges are experienced researchers, they may not be familiar with your unique project or specialty. Be sure to describe your work in a clear and positive manner. As an example, keep your work along the lines of what you’ve seen published in Scientific American or Nature.

Have more questions?

We’re here to help you through the entry process:
Call 800.968.4332 and choose option 5 or email us at