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Release: June 26, 2002

Invent Iowa receives $100,000 U.S. Education Department grant

Invent Iowa, a program of the University of Iowa's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development that encourages Iowa students to design and create inventions, has netted a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant was secured by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs a U.S. Senate subcommittee that funds education initiatives through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Harkin helped start Invent Iowa in 1986.

"The inventors of tomorrow are in our classrooms today. The vision of Invent Iowa is to spark the inventive spirit of Iowa's children and give them the confidence to keep inventing. This grant provides tremendous support for that vision," said Clar M. Baldus, Ph.D., state coordinator of Invent Iowa.

The federal funds will be used to encourage children in kindergarten through 12th grade to create inventions and hold fairs at the school level. Last year, more than 30,000 Iowa students participated in the program.

Invent Iowa participants are expected to develop inventions that generally meet the requirements for a patent in the United States. In other words, they must be "new, useful and non-obvious." To make the experience more meaningful, students are encouraged to keep journals chronicling their inventions from concept to completion.

Inventions selected at the regional competitions are displayed each year at the Invent Iowa state convention. The state convention, organized by the Belin-Blank Center, is hosted by the Colleges of Engineering and is held at the UI and Iowa State University alternating years. For more information about Invent Iowa, follow the links at