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WVU professor elected to National Academy of Inventors

Photo of Jim Smith

Photo of Jim Smith

A West Virginia University engineering professor has joined the ranks of the National Academy of Inventors in recognition of his contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.


James Smith, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Statler College of Engineering, has spent his 40-year career focused on the areas of health, communications and energy. His inventions have been used as training tools for students who often share in his inventions and the resulting start-up companies. In addition, Smith conducts leadership conferences to help others reach their innovative potential.

Smith holds 36 United States patents, several international patents and is the co-founder of five start-up companies. He has published more than 270 refereed articles.

Smith has received several awards for research and professional service including the 2013 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Frank Kreith Energy Award, 2014 WVU Presidential Innovation Service Award and 2016 National Association of Entrepreneurship Champion of Free Enterprise Eagle Award. He was also the 2016 National Association of Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame inductee.

Smith is a fellow of SAE International, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was the 2009 SAE International president and chairman of the board.

The fellows “have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society,” according to a statement from the National Academy of Inventors.

With the election of the 2016 class there are now 757 fellows, representing 229 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. The 2016 fellows are named inventors on 5,437 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all National Academy of Inventors Fellows to more than 26,000.

The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of fellow were nominated by their peers and evaluated by a 19-member selection committee.

This year’s fellows will be inducted on April 6, 2017, as part of the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

The National Academy of Inventors was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.



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