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Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Grant

Grants to USA and Territories Educators to Lead High
School Student Teams in a STEM Invention Challenge

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Engineering, The Lemelson Foundation

LOI Date:


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Grants of up to $10,000 to USA and territories STEM educators affiliated with high schools and nonprofit educational organizations to lead high school student teams in a hands-on STEM challenge. The initial application is due April 9, 2018. Students will invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing.

InvenTeam students rely on inquiry and hands-on problem solving as they integrate lessons from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to develop invention prototypes. Interactive, self-directed learning coupled with STEM curricula are essential for experiencing invention.

Students learn to work in teams while collaborating with intended users of their inventions. They partner with organizations in their communities to enrich their experiences.

After the InvenTeam experience, inventive cultures often continue to prosper at schools through further development of InvenTeam prototypes or the pursuit of new invention projects.

Each InvenTeam creates an individual path due to project variation, but most experience the cycle through three phases:

1) Concept phase

-Gather additional research about users' needs, competitive products, and existing patents
-Brainstorm ideas for appropriate solutions

2) Design Phase

-Conceptualize several solutions
-Investigate the feasibility of each solution
-Select the best solution
-Create a detailed design using tools, such as SolidWorks 3D CAD software
-Determine materials and resources, considering Sustainable Design

3) Build Phase

-Construct and test prototypes
-Field test prototypes
-Build alpha prototype

InvenTeams access information and resources through a private portal on the Lemelson-MIT Program’s website where they also manage their finances and submit reports. Lemelson-MIT -Program staff visits each InvenTeam at its school during the grant cycle.

Grant Expectations:

-All teams are expected to present and showcase a working prototype of their invention at EurekaFest in June of their grant year.
-All teams are expected to hold a mid-grant technical review to demonstrate their progress and gather important feedback from beneficiaries and community stakeholders.
-All teams are expected to comply with the administrative guidelines outlined by the Lemelson-MIT Program, which include financial reporting, adhering to program deadlines, and external communications.

Students, teachers, and mentors representing each InvenTeam travel to Cambridge, Mass., in June for the Lemelson-MIT Program's EurekaFest, a multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit. InvenTeams present and showcase their prototypes at EurekaFest’s public exhibit. Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winners, MIT faculty, and other teams offer feedback and inspiration during EurekaFest.

Funds may be allocated for research, materials, and learning experiences related to the project. Funds may not be used to purchase capital equipment or professional services (e.g.: intellectual property legal protection, engineering services).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178991

Number of Grants:

Up to 15 teams nationwide are selected each year as InvenTeam grant recipients.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants are up to $10,000 each.

Educators who facilitate the project outside of the school day may allot up to $3,000 of an InvenTeam grant towards fellowships.

Term of Contract:

The grant period runs from October 2017 - June 2018 corresponding with the academic year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educators at high schools and nonprofit educational organizations may apply.

An educator and/or a school who has received an InvenTeam grant must wait three grant cycles before applying again.

The optimal size of a team is 10-15 high school youth.

Funds may not be used to purchase capital equipment such as computers, pay for professional services, or substitute educators.

Pre-Application Information:

-Initial application opens: October 24, 2017
-Initial application deadline: April 9, 2018
-Up to 35 Excite Award recipients (educator finalists) announced: Mid-April 2018
-Lead educator finalist attends EurekaFest 2018: June 20-22, 2018
-Finalist teams develop their final applications: Summer 2018
-Final application deadline: September 4, 2018
-Up to 15 InvenTeams announced: October 2018
-Invention development by InvenTeam grantees: October 2018-June 2019
-EurekaFest 2019 for InvenTeam grantees: mid-June 2019

The application is a two-step process.

1) Initial Application

Educators are expected to document school and community support for year-long invention projects and the ability to identify and solve real-world problems with a team of students.

Educators selected as finalists are considered Excite Award recipients and attend EurekaFest at MIT June 19-22, 2018. The award is an all-expense paid trip to MIT and professional development on invention education. Only Excite Award recipients who attend EurekaFest will be invited to submit a final application.

2) Final Application (by invitation only) will be due September 2018.
Final applications focus on the invention project and require student input to present:

-Invention project description
-Background research including a patent search
-Project and team organization plan
-Budget to build the invention
-Community engagement plan

InvenTeams are encouraged to seek industry, academic, or civic partners in their community to help implement their projects. Involving partners that have experience inventing can be invaluable.

An informational video may be viewed here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

The initial application is available online here:

The Lemelson-MIT Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
School of Engineering
77 Massachusetts Ave. Building 10-110
Cambridge, MA 02139

P: 617-253-3352
F: 617-258-8276

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)