Innovator Awards

Nomination Process:

Nominations may be submitted by filling out the form (see button below) or by emailing by 5 p.m. May 1, 2018. Submissions may not exceed 200 words. Optional supporting material may be included as an attachment to the email.

Nomination form

Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT is a catalyst for creativity fueling progress, innovation and entrepreneurship for the North Texas region and the state. As such, UNT aims to reward innovation among its faculty, staff and students.

The annual UNT Innovator Awards recognize innovative leaders across campus. To earn the recognition, an awardee must demonstrate innovation, which generally requires both a creative development as well as the likelihood the work will make an impact in markets and communities. For academic researchers, this means they must show the ability to turn a solution into a commercial activity that benefits society at large. The annual UNT Innovator Awards celebrate faculty, staff and students who demonstrate the greatest innovations on campus each and have gone above and beyond in taking that innovation from concept in the lab into the marketplace.


UNT’s goal for this award is to honor and recognize the innovative research conducted on campus. Wikipedia’s expounded definition of “innovation” is an application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. At UNT, our faculty, staff and students are striving to make the world a better place with their research. The Innovation Awards recognize the most successful achievements of researchers of the year who have taken a problem, researched ways to solve it, and applied that research to create results in the real world to enhance society.

Award nominations are focused on faculty, staff and students who have achieved measured successes in approaching a problem through an innovative path and then created a solution that impacts that problem. Preference for these awards will go to faculty, staff and students who are involved in the transfer of the technology from their labs to the marketplace. First and foremost, products or technologies launched into the market solve problems in an innovative fashion are ranked highest in nominations. Second, the proof of patentability or other intellectual property protection demonstrates that the approach is novel and innovative. Finally, grant or other external funding support demonstrates that the approach might be innovative even if the solution has not been put into practice yet.

The four UNT Innovator Awards are presented each year to a faculty member, staff member, graduate student and undergraduate student. Each award winner receives a special, hand-crafted commemorative award, and either a financial award or scholarship.


The faculty award nominees must be full-time faculty members at UNT for at least three months prior to the nomination opening date. The faculty member must not be scheduled to terminate employment with UNT for the fiscal year of the nomination. Preference will be made to faculty who have intellectual property that is disclosed to UNT and/or is in the process of licensing by the university.


The staff award nominees must be full-time UNT staff members who have worked at UNT for at least three months prior to the nomination date. The staff member must not be scheduled to terminate employment with UNT for the fiscal year of the nomination. Preference will be made for staff who have contributed to the innovation and the creation of intellectual property, especially intellectual property licensed by UNT.


The student award nominees must be enrolled as a full-time student for the current semester and will attend UNT as a student for the following semester.

Award Process:

The Office of Research and Innovation (VPRI) reviews the nominations and determines the award recipients. Crucial to the selection of each awardee is how the innovative research will lead to the transfer of the technology from UNT to a market/user outside of the academic realm. Therefore, applications should highlight how the solution applies to solving a problem and who will use this approach to make the solution a reality.