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Lifetime Achievement Award
Honoring a Lifetime of Inventive Contributions to Society

From medical breakthroughs to technological advancement to scientific discovery, one individual's inventions can have a profound impact on society. The Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes outstanding individuals whose pioneering spirit and demonstrated inventiveness throughout their careers has improved our society and inspired others. Once honorary, the award now includes a $100,000 prize.

Past award winners include Dr. Ruth Rogan Benerito, innovator of the textile industry; Raymond Damadian, inventor of the first magnetic resonance scanning machine; and Al Gross, a wireless technology pioneer. Learn more about previous honorees in our Winners' Circle.

Eligibility Requirements
Candidates for this award are living role models in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and technology. They are U.S. citizens or permanent residents whose life-long careers in invention and innovation have had a significant impact on society. These individuals have the potential to be roles models and inspire inventiveness in others. There are no patent requirements for this award. The Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award may be awarded to an individual or to two collaborators in a specific invention.

Selection Process
The Lemelson-MIT Program invites leaders from industry, research, academia and government to nominate candidates for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Two independent committees—the Screening Committee and Jury—comprised of experts in science, engineering, medicine, technology and business, review the nominations and select finalists. The Lemelson-MIT Board ratifies the winner, who is notified by the Director and honored at an annual awards celebration in April. The Lemelson Foundation does not play a role in the final selection of the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Nomination Process

  1. Determine which award the candidate should be considered for—the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize or $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award. Candidates cannot be nominated for both awards.
  2. Indicate the category or categories (no more than two) in which the candidate should be considered.
  3. Complete, sign and date the nomination form.
  4. Include the following materials in your nomination packet:
    • Nomination form
      Available for download on the right-hand column of this page.
    • Description of candidate's inventiveness:
      Please tell us why your candidate should be recognized by the Lemelson-MIT Program. Include a description of the inventor’s accomplishments and their impact upon and/or benefit to society (not to exceed 750 words).
    • Biographical summary:
      Please highlight your candidate’s most significant distinctions, within the following areas, on one single-sided 8.5 x 11 page (bullet format is preferred): experience, education, awards & distinctions, patents & publications, copyrights & trademarks, invited lectures & conferences.
    • Candidate's curriculum vitae or resume:
      Please submit no more than five single-sided 8.5 x 11” pages.
    • Documentation of candidate's patents:
      Please provide a minimum of two patent abstracts and no more than five. Additionally, you may add a list of the numbers and titles of the candidate’s remaining patents. As a reminder, there are no patent requirements for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
    • Letters of recommendation:
      Please submit three letters of recommendation. Recommenders should describe their affiliation with the candidate and provide their name, title, organization, department, address, telephone, email and fax number. Each letter of recommendation should be no more than two single-sided 8.5 x11” pages.
    • Other pertinent materials (within guidelines):
      You have the option of providing materials supporting the candidate's achievements, such as professional articles and press clippings. Additional materials should be single-sided 8.5 x 11" pages; please do not include more than 10 pages total.
  5. Send one original (unbound, single-sided) and three bound copies of each of the complete nomination packet to the Lemelson-MIT Program Office.

Nominations must be complete and conform to the above criteria. No supplemental information will be accepted unless requested by the Lemelson-MIT Program. You may nominate more than one candidate. If you have any questions, please call the Lemelson-MIT Program office at 617-253-3352.

Information about the candidate provided by the nomination documentation may be used to prepare public education materials. In addition, in keeping with the Lemelson-MIT Program’s educational and outreach mission, the winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize and $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award will be asked to participate in media activities around the announcement.

The $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award is part of a comprehensive program administered by the Lemelson-MIT Program and established by The Lemelson Foundation to raise the stature of inventors and to inspire innovation among young people.