UNM Rainforest Innovations

The UNM Rainforest Innovations Board of Directors created this new award in 2010 to annually honor a University of New Mexico inventor whose body of technologies has generated significant commercialization activities. Based on achievements in new technologies disclosed, patents received, license and option agreements entered into, new companies started and income generated from these technologies, the Rainforest Innovation Fellow Board Committee evaluates and selects an Innovation Fellow.

The social and economic impact of the awardee’s technologies in the marketplace is important. New technologies resulting in substantial benefit to the public may have the most valuable impact on society. The Rainforest Innovation Fellow award is recognition of that impact. UNM Rainforest Innovations makes an annual Innovation Fellow award. The award includes an honorarium of $2,500, a booklet outlining a summary of the metrics and impact of the awardee’s technologies and a commemorative gift.

UNM Rainforest Innovations will convene a group of Innovation Fellows who, it is hoped, will inspire colleagues to be innovators, raise the visibility of inventors both inside and outside the UNM community, and act as a network of mentors and collaborators who will drive future inventive endeavors for UNM and UNM Rainforest Innovations.

Award Criteria

Criteria for Determining Eligibility to Receive an Innovation Award

Each year UNM Rainforest Innovations holds its Innovation Awards dinner to honor UNM faculty, staff, and students who have received issued patents or registered copyrights and trademarks within the past year (from March of the previous year through February the following year).

UNM Rainforest Innovations establishes the following general criteria for determining eligibility to receive an Innovation Award:

  • Faculty and staff must be currently employed by UNM as paid (part-time or greater) employees. This applies to all rank and title categories. Past or present UNMRI Innovation Fellows are eligible for an award.
    • We verify eligibility primarily through the UNM Directory; however, we also contact UNM HR for additional verification as needed.
  • Students must be registered and currently pursuing a degree (undergraduate, masters, doctoral). 


UNM Rainforest Innovations’ President reserves the right to make exceptions to the above criteria on a case-by-case basis.

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