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Olympus Launches 2009 National Innovation Awards Program

Center Valley, PA, September 17, 2008 - Olympus, a precision technology leader creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare, life science and consumer electronics products, today announced the Olympus Innovation Awards Program for 2009. The national program, executed by Olympus in partnership with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), recognizes individuals who have fostered or demonstrated innovative thinking in education. 

The awards will be given to faculty nominees chosen from among the nearly 200 member institutions of NCIIA, a national network of colleges and universities fostering invention, innovation and entrepreneurship in U.S. higher education. Olympus will present the awards at the NCIIA’s 13th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on March 20, 2009.

Olympus and the NCIIA are currently soliciting nominations for the awards. Students, faculty, and others at NCIIA institutions of higher learning in the U.S. may nominate qualified educators by logging in at www.nciia.org/login until Nov. 21, 2008. For more information about the Olympus Innovation Award Program, visit www.nciia.org.

“Olympus is proud of being an industry and business innovation thought leader,” stated F. Mark Gumz, president and chief executive officer of Olympus Corporation of the Americas. “As a company, we are very committed to this Awards program and consider it crucial to reinforcing Olympus’ recognition and support of innovation in U.S. academia.”

The Olympus Innovation Awards Program, now in its fifth year, represents Olympus’ ongoing commitment to technological innovation and education. The program includes three awards, the Olympus Innovation Award, the Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award and the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award. 

The Olympus Innovation Award recognizes a faculty member who fosters an environment of innovative thinking among students through inventive teaching methods and hands-on educational opportunities. Nominations will demonstrate how candidates’ methods and philosophies have inspired students and detail the resulting student innovations. The winner will receive a $10,000 prize.

The Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated a sustained contribution throughout his or her career to stimulating and inspiring innovative thinking in students in their own universities and throughout academia. The winner will receive a $2,500 prize.

The Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award, whose winner will receive a $1,000 prize, recognizes an individual who has inspired innovative thinking in students in a discrete area and whom the judges believe has the potential to make even greater contributions to the field in the future.

“For four years, the Olympus Innovation Awards Program has recognized the outstanding contributions of faculty whose work exemplifies excellence and innovation in higher education,” said Phil Weilerstein, executive director, NCIIA, based in Hadley, Mass. “We are delighted to continue building the partnership between the NCIIA and Olympus.”

Last year’s winners included Tom Byers, Ph.D. and Tina Seelig, Ph.D., co-founders of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) at Stanford University; David F. Barbe, Ph.D. and professor of electrical and computer engineering and executive director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH) at the University of Maryland; and Martina Musteen, Ph.D. and assistant professor at the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University. Byers and Seelig won the Olympus Innovation Award, Barbe was honored with the Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award and Musteen took home the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award.

“I was honored with the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award,” said Musteen. “And while I have achieved recognition here at San Diego State and throughout academic circles as an expert in international entrepreneurship, I am most proud of the fact that I am looked to as a mentor to students who want to make a difference in the world through their global entrepreneurial efforts.”

“We were truly honored to receive the Olympus Innovation Award,” said co-winners Tina Seelig and Tom Byers. “At STVP, where we teach and research entrepreneurial thinking, we have found it immensely rewarding to have the support and recognition of organizations that share our passion for innovation.”

Judges for all three awards will include last year’s winners’ Tina Seelig and Tom Byers, Stanford University; returning judges, Abigail Barrow, Ph.D., founding director, Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center; and Arthur A. Boni, Ph.D., director, Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, John R. Thorne Professor of Entrepreneurship, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, as well as David Willard, director, Olympus Corporation of the Americas and Phil Weilerstein, executive director, NCIIA.

About Olympus
Olympus is a precision technology leader, creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare, life science and consumer electronics products. Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines.  These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes;
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents;
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes.  For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.

About NCIIA
The NCIIA was established in 1995 with support from The Lemelson Foundation. Its mission is to foster invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in higher education – components of the higher education curriculum that are vital to the nation’s economic future. The NCIIA accomplishes its goals by supporting curricula and programs that encourage the development and the work of E-Teams – multidisciplinary teams of students, faculty, and industry mentors working together to take an idea for a technological innovation and bring it through prototype development to commercialization. The “E” stands for excellence and entrepreneurship.

Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Sullivan, Olympus, (484) 896-5005, elizabeth.sullivan@olympus.com
Dave Orsman, NCIIA, (413) 587-2172, dorsman@nciia.org

Note to editors: More background on the Olympus Innovation Awards Program is available at www.olympuspresspass.com