The Collegiate Inventors Competition Judging Process

Find out how we determine the winners.

Each year, judging is completed in two rounds

Round 1

Each Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC) entry is reviewed by our initial judging panel made up of scientists, researchers and experts in a variety of fields.

The judges’ collective scores and rankings, along with data collected by independent researchers, are used by the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) to determine the Finalists. 

All Finalists are notified by phone about two months before the final judging round. 

Round 2

In October, all Finalist teams meet with our final judging panel and formally present their inventions at the United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. 

The final judging panel consists of NIHF Inductees and special guest judges, which have included experts from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Abbott Laboratories, among others.

Following the presentations, the judging panel deliberates and selects winners in each category.

Enter the Competition

Entries for the 2019 Collegiate Inventors Competition are now closed. Please check back in early-spring for information on the 2020 competition.

Meet our 2018 Judges

NIHF Inductees

Eric R. Fossum, Ph.D.

CMOS Active Pixel Image Sensor Camera-on-a-Chip
2011 NIHF Inductee

Marcian "Ted" Hoff, Ph.D.

1996 NIHF Inductee

Don Keck, Ph.D.

Optical Fiber
1993 NIHF Inductee

Alois Langer, Ph.D.

Implantable Defibrillator
2002 NIHF Inductee

Frances Ligler

Portable Optical Biosensors
2017 NIHF Inductee

C. Kumar N. Patel, Ph.D.

Carbon Dioxide Laser
2012 NIHF Inductee                                                                                                                                                                                                

Radia Perlman, Ph.D.

Robust Network Routing and Bridging
2016 NIHF Inductee

Steve Sasson, D.Sc.

Digital Camera
2011 NIHF Inductee

Gary Sharp, Ph.D.

Polarization-Control Technology
2015 NIHF Inductee

Spencer Silver

Post-It® Notes
2010 NIHF Inductee

Jim West, D.Sc.

Electret Microphone
1999 NIHF Inductee

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Jacqueline Cheng

Supervisory Patent Examiner, Technology Center 3700,
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Elizabeth L. Dougherty, J.D.

Director of Inventor Education, Outreach and Recognition
United States Patent and Trademark Office

George Elliott, Ph.D.

Deputy Chief Policy Officer for Operations, Office of Policy and International Affairs (retired)
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Alireza Nia

Supervisory Patent Examiner,
United States Patent and Trademark Office