The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize was first awarded in 1995 as an annual prize that honored MIT graduate student inventors. In 2014 it was expanded to a national prize that recognized undergraduate teams and graduate students who had invented technology-based solutions in prize categories that represent significant sectors of the global economy: Cure it! – Healthcare, Eat it! – Food/Water or Agriculture, Move it! – Transportation or Mobility, and Use it! – Consumer Devices or Products. In each of the four categories, winning graduate students received $15k and undergraduate teams received $10k. The wide-reaching recognition that collegiate students have received from winning the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize has provided new opportunities and support for their work as inventors.

Update to the Student Prize

While we are no longer offering the Student Prize, the impact past winners have had on the world with their inventions is immeasurable. We applaud their work, and will be celebrating all winners as part of a Student Prize retrospective that will include written materials, short videos, and a documentary film featuring a few of the winners along with their invention journeys.

2021 Current Winners

Harvard University graduate student Nicole Black in the lab, in front of a computer monitor that is displaying a picture of her invention being 3D printed. She also holds her small, biodegradable eardrum graft invention in tweezers.
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Nicole Black

Nicole invented PhonoGraft, a new material and procedure to repair eardrums after damage due to infection or trauma such as blast injury.
Stanford University graduate student Mira Moufarrej in the lab
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Mira Moufarrej

Mira invented early screening tests that may change the standard of practice for prenatal care by predicting preeclampsia, preterm birth, and due date earlier and more accurately.
MIT graduate student Hilary Johnson, holding her variable volute pump
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Hilary Johnson

Hilary invented an adaptive centrifugal pump that expands or contracts the volute in response to variable flow rates for better energy efficiency.
Paige Balcom of University of California, Berkeley with a wall tile made from her machines that convert PET plastic into useable, salable items.
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Paige Balcom

Paige invented locally-made, manually-powered recycling machines to transform PET plastic waste into desirable household products in Uganda.


"One of the biggest barriers in STEM is the gender gap and women feel shy – society has put them down so much – and don’t speak out. I just want to give girls encouragement and tell them not to be afraid."

Kayla Nguyen
2017 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner