Take Your Innovation to the Next Level With Our Collegiate Inventors Competition

Each year, the nation’s most creative college students come together to compete while networking with world-class inventors.

What is the Collegiate Inventors Competition?

  • Who: Undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled either part time or full time at a U.S. college or university, including non-U.S. citizens who can meet our student status requirements.
  • What: A unique invention contest offering opportunities to advance your invention through national exposure, expert mentorship, networking and more.
  • Where: Finalists receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend our event at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • When: Each year, applications must be submitted by June. Finalists are selected in August and the event takes place in October. Our next competition will be held Oct. 16-17, 2024.
  • Why: Through this a one-of-a-kind experience, you’ll connect with other collegiate inventors, meet National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees and patent examiners who will serve as Judges, and compete to win cash prizes* and patent acceleration!

Entries for the 2024 Collegiate Inventors Competition are closed. Check back next spring for information on the 2025 competition.

Event Timeline

Entering the Competition

Complete our online application to tell us about yourself and your invention.

Find more details on the application process.

Round One Judging

Your Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC) entry will be reviewed by our initial judging panel.

Learn more about CIC judging.

Research Stage

A researcher will reach out to you with questions if greater clarity is needed to understand your invention fully.

Finalists Selected

If you are selected as a Finalist, you will be notified two months ahead of our CIC event and will be provided with details about your next steps, including requirements for Round Two Judging.

Finalists Announced

In early September, all CIC Finalists will be announced by the National Inventors Hall of Fame through invent.org, a press release, social media, email and blogs.

Preparation Time

As a Finalist, you'll want to start prepping for your trip and your presentation at our CIC event in Washington, D.C. Our team will reach out to help you prepare!

We also will interview you and create promotional materials including a video to help spread the word about your involvement in CIC.

CIC Event Day One: Arrival

When you arrive in Washington, D.C., on the first day of CIC, you’ll join a welcome session where you’ll meet other Finalists.

CIC Event Day Two: Round Two Judging and Winners Announced

You’ll get to mingle with world-changing inventors and your fellow Finalists during our networking event at the USPTO headquarters. Later, you’ll also have the opportunity to gain valuable insight as you meet with intellectual property experts.

Finally, it’s time for the main event! You’ll give your final presentation to the competition Judges, including National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and USPTO representatives. After all the Finalists have presented their inventions, the Judges will hold their final deliberations.

We'll announce our Undergraduate, Graduate and People's Choice Award Winners at an awards dinner.

Congratulations 2023 CIC Winners!

Graduate Winner: Cerebral Aneurysm Test (CAT-7)

Graduate Runner-Up: Entropic Biosciences Inc.

Undergraduate Winner: FADpad

Undergraduate Runner-Up: Bronchosleeve

Arrow Electronics People's Choice Award Winner: NucleoTide

Have Questions?

For more information, visit our FAQs or contact us at [email protected] or 800-968-4332, option 5. 

Interested in becoming a sponsor? See the benefits of supporting the country's most innovative college students and learn how to become a sponsor.

2024 Sponsors

* Please note that if a Finalist is awarded competition winnings of $600 or more, a 1099 form will be issued to them at the conclusion of the tax year. The winning Finalist must be legally eligible to provide a completed and signed W-9 prior to payout. Please see the following link for details and instructions: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-9

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