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A USC Invention Competition


The USC Technology Commercialization Office is proud to announce the launch of the inaugural INVENT EVENT: A USC Invention Competition.

INVENT EVENT occured in the Spring of 2013 and began accepting submissions March 1, 2013. USC faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate, and undergraduate students were encouraged to submit their inventions to compete for cash prizes.

Special attention was paid to submissions within USC's four focus areas:

  • Health Sciences
  • Advanced Materials
  • Energy
  • Environment and Sustainability

Are you contributing to innovation at USC? If so, we encourage you to enter INVENT EVENT next year.

The Office of the Vice President for Research’s Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) recently held its inaugural InventEvent. The InventEvent is a campus-wide invention competition where faculty, staff, and students submit their new ideas in order to compete for prize money. The TCO works with inventors throughout the year, not just during the invention competition, to disclose, patent, market and license technologies developed at USC. This competition was run to help faculty, staff and students become more aware of the mission of the TCO, and to emphasize that the office exists to help move university technology into the marketplace.

USC inventors entered the competition by submitting an Invention Competition Disclosure Form (similar to the Invention Disclosure Form found here), which is the first step in the technology commercialization process. Completed entries were de-identified and randomly assigned a number for anonymous judging. Entries were reviewed for patentability by the law firm of Dority & Manning. Entries that moved to the next round were submitted to technical judges at USC (faculty who are subject-matter experts in the invention being evaluated). The inventions were judged and scored on Technical Feasibility, Novelty, Non-obviousness, Stage of Development (reduced to practice, prototypes made, etc.), and Relevancy to Technical Field.

Entries that made it into next round were judged and scored by outside industry experts from companies including PBI Performance Products (an InterTech company), Dow Chemical, KEMET, GE Power & Water, Dow AgroSciences, SC Tao, EMD Millipore, Novartis, IT-oLogy, and the Department of Defense. Inventions were judged in this round based on Relevancy to Industry, Market/Commercial Potential, and Solves a Current Real-World Problem. Semifinalists were asked to develop a short presentation on their inventions. The top 6 finalists, determined by scores obtained during the two rounds of judging, presented their slide-shows at the USC Research Invention Celebration on May 3rd. Industry and faculty judges used the presentations and previous scores to determine the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, and Honorable Mention winners.

In addition to being the culmination of the InventEvent, the USC Research Invention Celebration honored the accomplishments of USC inventors. The TCO presented Dr. Michael Myrick with a Career Achievement award. Dr. Myrick has over 25 issued patents. His work in optical spectroscopy, specifically Multivariate Optical Computing, was licensed to a startup company, Ometric, who further developed the technology until it was sold to Haliburton Energy Services. The sale, in which the university received $2.75 million dollars, marks the first time that USC has worked with a startup company that has been sold to a Fortune 500 company. The TCO also honored 91 USC inventors who had patents issued and 62 USC inventors who disclosed new inventions in 2012.

The TCO and the Office of the Vice President for Research congratulates all of our inventors on their impressive competition submissions and accomplishments. The event was a huge success, and the TCO looks forward to celebrating USC inventors again next year.

Winners & Prize Amounts

  • FIRST PLACE with $15,000
    Inventor: Esmaiel Jabbari
    Title of Invention: Cortical-Bone-Like Microtubular Laminated Composite Scaffold Composition
  • SECOND PLACE with $12,000
    Inventors: Lei Wang, Brian Benicewicz
    Title of Invention: Fabrication of Magnetic Nanoparticles with A New Technology
  • THIRD PLACE with $10,000
    Inventor: Miao Yu
    Title of Invention: Tunable Graphene-Based Nanomeshes for Separations

HONORABLE MENTIONS for $4,000 to each team

Inventor: Yuriy Pershyn
Title of Invention: DCRAM: a Circuit for Mixed Memory Storage and Polymorphic Computing

Inventors: Lei Wang, Kristen Miller, Anand Viswanath, Alan Decho, Brian Benicewicz
Title of Invention: Nanoparticle-based Antimicrobial Paint

Inventors: Yanhai Du (, Kenneth Reifsnider (
Title of Invention: Liquid Fuel On-board Miniature Desulfurizer


University of South Carolina Research Facts:

  • USC research has experienced a 33.3 percent growth in sponsored research dollars awarded since FY2008.
  • In 2012, the university attracted a record total sponsored research funding of over $238.3 million.
  • USC is the only University in the State of South Carolina to be ranked by The Carnegie Foundation as an institution of “very high research activity.”
  • Carolina researchers compete successfully with top scientists in America’s most prestigious schools.


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